The Aetherium WarsEdit
In ancient times, the Dwemer constructed four city-states, led by the great research center of Arkngthamz in the Reach. While their purpose remains unknown, the city-states were undefeatable, and held their ground against attacking Nords for centuries. Then, in the midst of the First Era, all four city-states suddenly collapsed within three years. While the Nords ascribed the destruction of the cities to the strategic genius of High-King Gellir, many scholars suggested the cities fell for other reasons, although the mystery was buried along with the cities and merely forgotten.
The Aetherium Wars, a tome written in the present day by Taron Dreth, details the fall of the four cities, and even offers an explanation for the downfall of the Dwarves: namely, Aetherium, an ultra-rare crystal-like matter with a strong, magical aura. The author suggests that the Dwarves found a considerable amount of Aetherium and started experimenting with forging it into weapons with a newly constructed 'Aetherium Forge'. Due to their brilliance, the Dwemer actually succeeded. The weapons created were so powerful that the strong bonds between the four city-states shattered, as everyone wanted to have access to the Forge, with subsequent conflicts weakening the cities enough for them to be an easy conquest for Gellir. The book ends with a challenge for the adventurer: "But nothing like the Aetherium Forge described in the inscriptions has ever been found within the borders of Skyrim. It may have been destroyed long ago, by the Nord invaders or the Dwemer themselves. Or perhaps it, like the secrets of Aetherium itself, still remains to be discovered."
The Ghost of KatriaEdit
As soon as you open the book, an objective will be added to your journal, encouraging you to investigate Arkngthamz, a Dwemer ruin located down the path from Dushnikh Yal. As you approach the entrance, the earth will quiver underneath you, hinting at things to come. A few feet into the ruin, the whole place will shiver, and an unidentified female voice will echo through the halls, saying: "Please, turn back... before it's too late..." Follow the tunnel to a very large chamber and look around for a bit. Before long, a ghost will appear and actively seek you out, asking you if you are there for the treasure. When asked, the ghost will reveal herself as Katria: "The name's Katria. I am - was - an adventurer. Raided ruins like this for nigh on twenty years. I was on the trail of something big. It led me here, and... I didn't make it." When you point out the familiarity of her name, she will reveal herself to be the Katria to whom the book The Aetherium Wars is dedicated, although she will angrily add: "That was my theory, you know. My research. My life's work. All of it, lost! Stolen by my own damn apprentice! That's how I ended up here. I can't rest. Not until I find the Forge, until I can prove that it was my discovery. Mine, not his!" She will then tell you that she died in Arkngthamz and will warn you once again. You can then persuade her or choose to be friendly or hostile. All three opportunities will lead to Katria giving up and offering her help in guiding you through the ruin. As she obviously knows her way around, there is no real reason to reject her offer, so bring her along. This will finally initiate the quest and you have a long trek before you.
Take another look around and get familiar with the place. The clear blue sky is visible above, along with several ledges, while a waterfall feeds an underground lake below. When asked about the state of the place, Katria will tell you that a huge earthquake hit the ruin and destroyed everything, killing her in the process. She will also mention what's ahead of you: "Well, there's the Falmer, to start with. Deadly rapids. Major earthquakes. Massive chasms. Unstable ground. Lethal falls. And then you get to the real danger. We can discuss that when the time comes. If it comes." Just above the water is a small ledge with a dead body. Use the fallen pipe to reach the ledge and you will find that it is Katria's body. Katria will sadly comment: "...this is where I ended up. It was... quite the fall." She will then ask you to grab her journal from her body. Pick up Katria's journal and search the underground area for a Dwemer chest. From the ledge, head west, past a dead Falmer. As you make your way through the tunnel, two Dwarven spider workers will jump out of the pipe in the ceiling and attack. The next room is flooded, but another pipe makes a convenient, although narrow, bridge to the northwestern passageway. At the end of the tunnel is a door opening and closing and, behind it, a strange device. Once again, Katria will be helpful: "See that thing? Dwarves called them 'Kinetic Resonators'. Don't see them very often, least not among the clans in Skyrim. Just hit them, and they'll... do whatever it is they're supposed to do." Locate the second resonator and hit it with your weapon or a spell. The northern doors will swing open and reveal a staircase leading up.
Reaching the SummitEdit
Before long, you will arrive in the central chamber, on one of the ledges above your starting point. Kill the Falmer enemies and keep an eye out for two chests. Proceed upstream along the waterfall using the tiny ledges and bridges and kill all the Falmer you meet. When you reach the top, the bridge will turn into a narrow passageway in the stony wall. Beware of the next chamber and watch your health, as you will be attacked by numerous Falmer, chaurus, and chaurus hunters. You can take a detour for a bit of extra loot by heading through the southwestern tunnel, but your target tunnel is the one to the northeast. It leads to a naturally lit cavern, with huge trees reaching towards the blue sky. However, a huge hole in the center, with your starting point a long way below, hints at the destruction caused by the earthquake. A sad Katria will confirm it: "Here's where I fell. Feels like ages ago." She will, however, cheer up when she spots one of her old belongings: "Hey, there's my bow! There, out on the log. Wondered what happened to it." The bow is the unique Zephyr, one of the fastest bows in the game, so carefully approach and claim it, while making sure not to take the same fall as Katria. Locate the northeastern slope and proceed forward until you reach the summit of the ruin, a very large chamber with a huge Dwemer construction to the north, seemingly the best preserved part of the city-state of Arkngthamz. A huge task is obviously ahead, and all Katria will say is: "Here we go."
The Tonal LockEdit
As you approach the huge construction, Katria will finally explain the real danger she spoke of earlier: "You know what this is? It's a lock. A 'Tonal Lock'. Simple, and very, very deadly. See the Resonators up there? Strike them in the right order, and the doors should open. Get it wrong, and... well. You've seen what happened when I tried it." She is obviously referring to the five Resonators, similar to the ones you saw in an earlier chamber, and you must hit them in the correct order for the door to swing open. When asked for advice, Katria will say: "Hmm... well, you can pick up where I left off. My notes should still be in my journal, if you can read it. Beyond that... well, maybe one of our predecessors still has a clue." She refers to a deceased adventurer near one of the pillars, so examine his body for a scrap of paper containing a hint on how to solve part of the tonal lock. Additionally, Katria's journal will have another drawing, depicting what she managed to figure out before the earthquake hit the ruin. The order of the first three Resonators are clearly marked on the two maps, while you will have to guess the last two; as predicted by Katria, the traps still work and every time you hit an incorrect Resonator, a new trap will trigger and cause mayhem, resetting all Resonators in the process. If you lack a ranged weapon, or a spell, get the bow and some arrows from the deceased adventurer. When you choose the wrong Resonator, the various traps will trigger as follows:
Place yourself in front of the construction and look at the two drawings.
|Katria's Journal||Scrap of Paper|
While the first three Resonators are easily discernible from the journal and the scrap of paper, the last two are unknown. You can experiment yourself, or click here for the solution. Once you have hit the right combination, the two side doors will swing wide open and you will have access to the treasury of Arkngthamz, without interference from the imprisoned Centurion. In the hidden room behind the Tonal Lock, you will find plenty of Dwemer scrap metal, a few Dwarven metal ingots and, the biggest treasure of all, located on a small podium, the Aetherium Shard. When picked up, an overwhelmed Katria will say: "Let me see it. ...Huh... What? What is this? Look, on the edge here. This has been cut, precisely cut. If you had another piece, about the same size, it would... it would snap right in. I saw a drawing of this once. This shard... it's... it's part of a key. A key made of pure Aetherium! The key to the Forge!" She will then explain what needs to be done: "We have to find the other pieces, of course. There should be, hmm... three more. One for each of the four cities that worked on the Forge. I had a map, in my journal. That's where we should start." She will, however, realize the size of the task at hand: "We still have to find the Forge itself. I had a lead on that, too. There's so much to do. I'm going to head out and start tracking things down. We'll meet again, I'm sure of it. For the first time in a long while, I think I - we - may actually be able to do this. And... and I owe it all to you. Thank you." She will then disappear, and leave it to you to loot the chest behind the pedestal for a boss-leveled treasure and find your way back to the entrance. The easiest way is to locate the small tunnel in the water in front of the Tonal Lock, then make your way to a small ledge above the huge main chamber where you met Katria for the first time. Jump in the water (save before attempting), and exit Arkngthamz.
Hunting the ShardsEdit
When you surface from Arkngthamz, up to three map markers will have been added to your map if you've already discovered those locations, matching Katria's scribbling in her journal and the number of shards still in need of uncovering. You will have no choice but to travel to all three destinations, in no particular order. Katria will have numbered each spot on her own map in the journal, along with some quick thoughts, so it's worth reading through.
The Aetherium CrestEdit
Once you have claimed all four shards, an excited Katria will tell you to meet her at the Forge, although it is unclear where the Forge actually is. Fortunately, she marked the location on your map (based on location 5 from her own map), so travel to the small Ruins of Bthalft southeast of Ivarstead to meet her again. As foretold by her journal, the altar here has an astrolabe on top and space for a round object in the middle. When you arrive, Katria will seek you out and say: "You made it! And you've brought the shards! She will then tell you to check out the device: Look at the device here - the gear in the center is just about the right size. Try putting the shards in and... we'll see what happens." Obey her orders and activate the Dwemer Mechanism, and watch while the shards turn into a perfectly round Aetherium Crest, although nothing else will happen. Katria will suggest moving the finished crest from the device; do so and then keep your distance from the mechanism, as the earth will begin to tremble heavily underneath you. Before long, a huge tower will shoot up from the ground, revealing an entrance with a handle in the middle. Katria will head on inside, fascinated with the uncovered secret, so follow her and push the handle to take the elevator a long way down.
What Lies BeneathEdit
The elevator stops deep underground, and even Katria will express a bit of concern, claiming that nobody has been down there for thousands of years. Examine the boulders to the east for a locked chest. Pull the handle next to the northern gate and two gates will open. The eastern gate has a path that circles around to an apprentice level chest. Return to the gate room and go north to enter a small chamber where a brazier automatically activates, casting light over a cave-like structure. Stay on the path and the braziers will help you along. Cross a bridge to reach a small altar filled with with Dwemer gear and scraps. Katria will estimate the place to be 4000 years of age. Head west over the next bridge to a huge stairway leading up between several smaller buildings. The braziers will keep the path lit up, and you will come across yet another astrolabe. At the top of the stairs stands a tree, almost completely yellow, and is obviously dead and frozen in time. As you approach the western gate, Katria will say: "Door's shut tight. I bet those Resonators would open it, though.", pointing your attention to the two resonators above. There is also an entrance into the cliff, but that will lead you downstream and into the water you traversed by bridge before. Hit the two Resonators with a ranged weapon or spell and the gate will open, and the lights will be turned on one-by-one in a lengthy underground tunnel. Everything appears to be fully functional and Katria will comment: "The air here... it feels different. Almost like..."
Behind the next door sits a huge construction, although most of the room is covered in steam billowing up from the floor. You will lose health if you go through the steam, so pay attention to the platforms in the eastern and western corners. Get up on one and activate the steam valve, which will cause half of the steam to disappear. Get over to the other and turn the valve to dissipate the steam entirely. Unfortunately, the entire place is booby-trapped and before long, numerous Dwarven spiders will jump out of the many tubes, and they keep coming until four Dwarven spheres join in. In the middle of the battle, the steam will be turned back on, leaving very little space to fight, so jump back up and turn off the steam if you can. When all four spheres have been dealt with, a sudden noise can be heard from the lava, and a gigantic centurion named The Forgemaster will surface and immediately spray blasts of liquid fire at you. This can be a tough battle, but Katria will prove worthy and can quite easily deal with the Forgemaster herself. Once he is on the ground, you can behold the Aetherium Forge in all its glory, finally rediscovered after 4000 years. An excited Katria will rush up to you and yell: "I... I almost can't believe it. We did it! We actually did it! There's only one thing left to do. We have to prove this actually works. That this is the real Aetherium Forge."
The Aetherium ForgeEdit
It is obvious that she wants to forge something, but the crafting materials are nowhere to be seen, especially not the ultra-rare Aetherium. Katria will respond: "There isn't any Aetherium here, is there? Damn it! Wait! ...Yes, yes there is. The shards we collected... they're pure Aetherium, remember? It's not much, but it'll do. With them, and the materials in this room, we should have everything we need." A useful marker will point you to a chest in an alcove, which is filled with Dwarven metal ingots, ebony ingots, silver and gold ingots, refined malachite and a string of flawless rubies and sapphires. With these items in hand, Katria will stand aside as you approach the mighty Aetherium Forge, where you can craft three different, and very powerful, objects, although only one can be made, as it will consume the Aetherium Crest in the process. Pick carefully:
- The Aetherial Crown is a circlet that allows you to use two standing stone abilities simultaneously.
- The Aetherial Shield is a heavy shield that makes enemies become ethereal (unable to attack or be attacked) for 15 seconds when shield-bashed.
- The Aetherial Staff is a staff that summons a Dwarven spider or Dwarven sphere for 60 seconds.
Once you have used the Forge, Katria will bid you farewell: "And with that... it's done. No one could possibly deny what we've found now." She will then start to fade, saying: "For me? I've done what I set out to do. But you... take that out into the world. And if anyone asks, tell them what we discovered. Together. And now... I think I can rest. Farewell, my friend, wherever your travels take you." Before she disappears completely, she will kneel before you, respectfully.
The Aetherium Wars, Pt. 2Edit
Meanwhile, the author of the book, Taron Dreth, will be wandering the wilderness of Skyrim with his band of personal mercenary guards and claiming to be the world's foremost expert in Dwemer metallurgy based on the research he stole from Katria. If you run into him while wearing, or just carrying, the unique Aetherium item you made, Taron will immediately realize his fraud has been called and will aggressively run up to you, saying: "Your crown/staff/shield... gods, it's made of Aetherium! Pure Aetherium! Where did you find it? Tell me!" He will then demand the artifact, so he can keep his secret safe. Regardless of your answer, you will get revenge on behalf of Katria, as Taron will see no other opportunity but to claim the artifact from you with the words: "Then I'll take it from your corpse!" He will then attack you, along with the three mercenaries. He is a very powerful elemental mage and can be quite challenging, but in the end, the only thing left to tell the tale of the four Dwemer city-states and the rare, luminescent crystal will be the tome The Aetherium Wars.
- The shards will spawn once Dawnguard is installed, even before the quest is active. Should you come across one of them, it will be labeled "Glowing Crystal Shard", and taking it will trigger a miscellaneous quest to "Identify the Crystal Shard" as well as conveniently spawning a dead adventurer with a copy of The Aetherium Wars nearby. Reading the book will prompt you to visit the ruins of Arkngthamz as usual and rename the Aetherium Shard as such.
- Even if you decide to leave Katria behind at the entrance of Arkngthamz, she will reappear later on in front of the Kinetic Resonator puzzle.
- If you take Katria's clothes when you examine her corpse for her journal, she will comment about her lost dignity.
- If you have already found one or more of the other shards, then there is an extra dialogue option to inform Katria of this before she heads off to find the other shards. The quest proceeds as normal otherwise.
- The map markers for the various shard locations will only appear once you approach the relevant location. It's possible to have markers appear without having a location icon if you've traveled very close to the location without actually discovering it.
- Katria can be made into a permanent follower by speaking to her at the Tonal Lock gate then immediately leaving the ruins via the waterway tunnel (left of the Tonal Lock gate). This makes the Tonal Lock gate glitch so that it will not open however this can be bypassed by using plates to Windsprint through it if you wish to continue the quest at at later point.
- Katria's gear can be changed at the start of the Lost To The Ages quest by canceling out of her initial conversation then using Ice/Paralyze/Force as she walks away to perform a reverse pickpocket. Her bow cannot be upgraded however.
- This quest may not start if, after installing Dawnguard, you have visited Mzulft or Deep Folk Crossing prior to reading The Aetherium Wars and the corpses at these locations have been fully removed from the game.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.1 of the Unofficial Dawnguard Patch.
- After forging either the crown, shield, or staff at the forge, the quest may not update and you will remain trapped in the room with the forge as the stairs won't come back up.
setstage DLC1LD_Bthalft 90in the console.
- Activating the Forge may place the Aetherium Crest in it, but without opening the Forge menu.
- The lever to operate the lift to enter the Forge may not appear, making it impossible to complete the quest.
- When speaking to Katria after discovering the entrance to the Aetherium Forge, she may disappear, and you will not be able to open the first door within the Forge.
- Katria's journal may be nowhere to be found. However, it is not required to complete the quest.
- Reading The Aetherium Wars may not add the miscellaneous objective "Investigate Arkngthamz" to your quest log. Upon investigating Arkngthamz, "Lost to the Ages" may not be added to quest log, either, meaning that you will be unable to complete the quest.
- A way to fix either bug above is to reload a save in which you have not started the Dawnguard questline, then drop The Aetherium Wars and any crystal shards if you have obtained any, and pick the book back up and read it. The quest should start, and then you can pick up the shards.
- You may not be able to place the shards in the Dwemer mechanism at Bthalft.
- The doors may not open even after hitting all five Resonators in the correct order.
- This can be fixed by hitting the wrong Resonator first, defeating the enemies, then hitting the correct order. Alternatively, reloading a previous save may work.
- If this doesn't work, try turning off your system, reloading your save file and dropping the Zephyr Bow back on the log where it was found. Then proceed to the Resonator and continue as normal.
- This can be fixed by hitting the wrong Resonator first, defeating the enemies, then hitting the correct order. Alternatively, reloading a previous save may work.
- If you leave Raldbthar before getting the shard, Katria may become unresponsive and the shard will not update the quest when picked up.
- The shard in Raldbthar may be called 'Glowing Crystal Shard' instead of an Aetherium shard, and picking it up does not update the quest, making the quest impossible to complete with a 'missing' shard. Console commands to advance the DLCLD_Misc do not work either.
- Pick up the shard in Dwarven Storeroom last to fix this problem.
|Lost to the Ages (DLC1LD)|
|Stage||Finishes Quest||Journal Entry|
|100||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, the ghost of an adventurer who perished there. She offered to join me in my fight to the summit, and I accepted her help.
(Objective is assigned): Reach the summit of Arkngthamz
|110||(Objective is assigned): Solve the Tonal Lock|
|111||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, the ghost of an adventurer who perished there. She warned me that the Treasury of Arkngthamz was sealed by a dangerous Tonal Lock and protected by deadly traps.|
|112||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, the ghost of an adventurer who perished there. We made our way through the ruins and reached the summit together. There, she warned me that the Treasury of Arkngthamz was sealed by a dangerous Tonal Lock and protected by deadly traps.|
|120||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, the ghost of an adventurer who perished there. With her help, I solved the Tonal Lock that protected its ruined treasury.
(Objective is assigned): Claim the treasure of Arkngthamz
|125||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, the ghost of an adventurer who perished there. With her help, I solved the Tonal Lock that protected its ruined treasury and found a strange glowing crystal shard within.
(Objective is assigned): Speak with Katria
|126||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, the ghost of an adventurer who perished there. With her help, I solved the Tonal Lock that protected its ruined treasury and claimed the Aetherium Shard within.|
|130||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. Together, we found one of the four Aetherium Shards that make up the key to the Forge. She left to search for the other shards and the Forge itself, and urged me to do the same.
(Objective is assigned): Search for the Aetherium Shards (<Global=DLC1LD_ShardsFound>/<Global=DLC1LD_ShardsTotal>)
|131||(Objective is assigned): Locate the Aetherium Forge|
|135||(Objective is assigned): (Optional) Retrieve Katria's Journal|
|150||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. With her help, I found the four Aetherium Shards that make up the key to the Forge, and now seek the entrance to the Forge itself.
(Objective is assigned): Locate the Aetherium Forge
|160||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. With her help, I found the four Aetherium Shards that make up the key to the Forge, and met her outside its long-sealed entrance.
(Objective is assigned): Speak with Katria
|170||(Objective is assigned): Place the Aetherium Shards|
|176||(Objective is assigned): Retrieve the Aetherium Crest|
|181||(Objective is assigned): Stand Clear|
|190||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. With her help, I found the four Aetherium Shards that made up the key to the Forge, and combined them to reveal the entrance to a long-sealed ruin.
(Objective is assigned): Find the Aetherium Forge
|195||(Objective is assigned): Shut off the Steam|
|200||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. With her help, I found the four Aetherium Shards that made up the key to the Forge, then confronted its ancient guardians.
(Objective is assigned): Defeat the Guardians of the Forge
|205||(Objective is assigned): (Optional) Shut off the Steam|
|210||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. With her help, I found the four Aetherium Shards that made up the key to the Forge, then defeated its ancient guardians.
(Objective is assigned): Speak with Katria
|220||(Objective is assigned): (Optional) Search for Crafting Materials
(Objective is assigned): Use the Aetherium Forge
|225||In Arkngthamz, I met Katria, a ghost searching for the mythical Aetherium Forge. With her help, I found the four Aetherium Shards that made up the key to the Forge, defeated its ancient guardians, and forged a powerful artifact.|
|Lost to the Ages (DLC1LD_Misc)|
|11||(Objective is assigned): Investigate the ruins of Arkngthamz|
|20||(Objective is assigned): Identify the Crystal Shard|
|30||(Objective is assigned): Identify the Crystal Shard|
|40||(Objective is assigned): Identify the Crystal Shard|
|50||(Objective is assigned): Identify the Crystal Shard|
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table:
- DLC1LD: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 175, 179, 180, 182, 185, 186, 187, 196, 206, 221, 255.
- DLC1LD_Misc: 10, 12, 255.