Online:Dawn of the Exalted Viper

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Quick Summary: written by Runs-in-Rivers, not checked

Walkthrough: written by Runs-in-Rivers, not checked

Quest Stages: written by Talyyn, not checked

This article is about the quest. For the book, see Dawn of the Exalted Viper (book).

ON-qico-Zone Story.png Defeat the Exalted Viper and save Craglorn.
Zone: Craglorn
Zone StoryThis quest is part of the Zone Story
Quest Giver: Anneke;
Titus Valerius in Belkarth
Location(s): The Howling Sepulchers, Loth'Na Caverns, Skyreach Temple
Prerequisite Quest: The Missing Guardian, The Serpent's Fang and Slithering Brood
Next Quest: The Time-Lost Warrior
Reward: Nirnhoned Coffer
Average Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Standard Experience
The Exalted Viper
Titus Valerius sent word that I should meet him near the observatory in Belkarth. The messenger had few details, but the situation sounds urgent.
I met Titus Valerius in Belkarth. He was hoping to find Kelmen to assist him and the Thief with a ritual to locate a magical disturbance near Skyreach, but the mage is nowhere to be found.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Talk to Titus Valerius in Belkarth.
  2. Begin the ritual at the Howling Sepulchers.
  3. Talk to the Thief.
  4. Meet the Thief in Loth'Na Caverns.
  5. Lower the bridge.
  6. Defeat the Exalted Viper.
  7. Return to Belkarth, and talk to the Thief.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

To start this quest, you must have completed the main story quests in Lower Craglorn and Upper Craglorn. You can see which ones you have yet to complete by looking at the Celestial Investigator and Serpents and Secrets achievements. You need to complete The Missing Guardian (and its two prerequisite quests), as well as Slithering Brood and The Serpent's Fang.

This quest begins in Belkarth, although Anneke may run up to you in other locations in Craglorn, such as Dragonstar or the Valley of Scars, and tell you that Titus Valerius needs to see you at the Star-Gazers' Observatory.

Talk to Titus and discover that the Thief detected a magical disturbance around Skyreach. Kelmen Locke went to investigate, but has yet to return. The Thief is preparing a ritual to locate the source of the disturbance, and you agree to take Locke's place. You need to go to the Howling Sepulchers to meet Titus and the Thief. Once inside the Sepulchers, head immediately left to find a door that leads down into the river valley, then follow the river to the right and enter the Sanctum of Farsight. You do not need to explore the rest of the delve during this quest.

The Viper, Revealed[edit]

Inside, you need to activate the six ritual fires. There's no pattern or order you need to follow; just make sure they all get lit.

The Thief: "Well done! With the farsight ritual complete, I can now locate the source of the magical disturbance."
A vision of Kelmen's standoff

A vision appears of Kelmen Locke, Regent Cassipia, and Little Leaf.

Little Leaf: "Kelmen, can you still do that trick with the dead bugs? That was my favorite!"
Regent Cassipia: "Dear Kelmen is here to stop us, Little Leaf, not to perform tricks for your amusement. He fears the power I'll wield as the Exalted Viper."
Kelmen Locke: "This is madness, Cassipia. What are you thinking? No mortal can contain the power of a constellation!"
Regent Cassipia: "You never had any ambition, Kelmen. No vision. When I become the Serpent's equal, with the power of a celestial at my command, I can make this world a better place."
Kelmen Locke: "By destroying Belkarth? How does that make the world a better place? Little Leaf, surely you don't support Cassipia's mad dream."
Regent Cassipia: "That's enough, you old drunk. Belkarth represents what's wrong with the current age. Once I destroy it, I can finally begin creating a new and better world."
Kelmen Locke: "No, Cassipia. I won't let you do this!"
Regent Cassipia: "Not Cassipia, dear Kelmen. I am the Exalted Viper!"

The Exalted Viper summons a flood of lightning and blue fire, then the vision fades as Kelmen keels over, dead.

Titus Valerius: "Kelmen! No!"

Talk to the Thief about what you just saw.

"The Scaled Court's venomous leader killed poor Kelmen without remorse or hesitation. But the ritual worked. I know where to find her—Loth'Na Caverns."

You can ask about your work with Little Leaf and Cassipia, if Kelmen is truly dead, and what just happened.

I met Regent Cassipia and Little Leaf.
"Indeed? And they still live? Why didn't you destroy them when you had the chance?"
They needed help. They said they opposed the Serpent and the Scaled Court.
"Oppose the Serpent? This Cassipia wants to replace the Serpent! But what's past is past. Did you notice anything? Did Cassipia collect any unusual components?"
She collected something from the mantikoras and the armored trolls. And some of the nirncrux.
"The nirncrux? I fear this Cassipia may have discovered a secret I thought lost with the ancient Nedes. The threat she presents is greater than I anticipated. We must hurry to Loth'Na Caverns!"
Is Kelmen really dead?
"He tried to stop Regent Cassipia on his own. She was too powerful for him. I just hope poor Kelmen is finally at peace."
Why did Kelmen go after Cassipia by himself?
"I can only speculate. It's obvious they knew each other from Kelmen's time in the Mages Guild. I think he recognized her hand in this and went to convince her to stop her mad plans. Unfortunately, she refused to be swayed."
I'm not sure I understand what we just watched happen.
"This Regent Cassipia, the leader of the Scaled Court. She plans to somehow gain the powers of a celestial. To make herself the Serpent's equal. She has much to answer for, not the least of which is the murder of Kelmen Locke."
Gaining the powers of a celestial is bad?
"For one such as Regent Cassipia, yes. Very bad. By her own admission, Cassipia plans to remake the world. We cannot allow that to happen."
Can Cassipia really become the Serpent's equal?
"Stranger things have happened in the past. As one of the Celestial Guardians, it is my job to oppose the Serpent and his followers. This Cassipia appears to be the worst of them. We must go to Loth'Na Caverns and stop her."

Titus is going to head back to Belkarth to prepare the city's defenses, while you and the Thief head to Loth'Na Caverns to confront Cassipia.

To Loth'Na Caverns[edit]

From the entrance to the Sepulchers, head west. Loth'Na Caverns is approximately half way between the Sepulchers and Dragonstar.

Once inside, you need to make your way to the Thief at the top of the rise on the other side of the cavern. Fight past the members of the Scaled Court and their snakes. At the top of the hill is a kneeling man named Visskar. You can fight him to clear the delve, or you can choose to sneak past him to talk to the Thief.

Enter Skyreach Temple

The Thief is over to the right. You need to activate four bridge triggers to make a bridge. Cross the magical purple bridge, and enter Skyreach Temple.

The Viper's Defeat[edit]

Go all the way up the stairs to the open room.

The Thief: "Regent Cassipia! You must not continue upon this dangerous path."
Little Leaf: "No! You don't understand! Leave us alone and everything will be fine."

You face Little Leaf and more members of the Scaled Court. You can attack half of the enemies without the others attacking you by simply focusing on the ones at the front of the room. Defeat Little Leaf, who wields a staff.

Interrupt the ritual

The pool of red nirncrux liquid starts to bubble, and Cassipia will enter combat.

The Exalted Viper: "No! Not Little Leaf! Come back to me, Little Leaf."

She teleports from the pool to where you defeated Little Leaf, and your entire group is forced to kneel. She summons Little Leaf's spirit and begins to fight you, enraged at her companion's death.

Cassipia uses a two-handed sword and can teleport around the room in a burst of orange light, knocking down everyone in the group. The spirits of the Scaled Court members may also join the fight. The Thief will stay focused on Little Leaf, distracting her and keeping her relatively in the same place. Once Little Leaf dies, Cassipia glows red and reveals her true form. It is now possible to block her teleport knockdowns, although she performs them more frequently.

"I am the Exalted Viper! I shall not be denied my place in the sky!"

Continue attacking her and the ghosts of the fallen Scaled Court members until she is defeated.

The Exalted Viper: "I only sought … to make things … better …."

Back to Belkarth[edit]

The Celestial Thief opens a portal to Belkarth, to the Star-Gazer's Observatory—the place where it all began. Talk to the Thief in the eastern corner of the upper floor of the Observatory.

"Regent Cassipia reached for powers that were not hers to acquire."
We stopped Regent Cassipia from becoming the Exalted Viper.
"And so we did. Cassipia and Little Leaf's deaths were regrettable, but they were a necessary evil in our efforts to save Craglorn. You have provided another great service to the Guardian Celestials. For that, you have my gratitude."

She gives you a Nirnhoned Coffer, containing a random Nirnhoned item, and some gold. Once you have completed the quest, you will also obtain the achievement Serpents and Secrets.

She leaves you with a final parting message:

"Regent Cassipia and Little Leaf wanted to change the world, but the cost was too high. The Serpent, the Viper … whatever you call it, a snake is still a snake."


  • The pedestals in the Sanctum of Farsight in the Howling Sepulchers can be interacted with while exploring the delve without having acquired this quest. However, nothing occurs when lighting them then.


  • After accepting the quest from Anneke, she briefly appears as a follower for a few seconds, before vanishing into thin air. ?

Quest Stages[edit]

Dawn of the Exalted Viper
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
I need to travel to Belkarth and find Titus near the Star-Gazer's observatory.
Objective: Talk to Titus in Belkarth
Latest start I agreed to take Kelmen's place in the ritual. I should meet Titus and the Thief at the Howling Sepulchers.
Objective: Enter the Howling Sepulchers
I've entered the Howling Sepulchers. Now I need to find and enter the Sanctum of Farsight so we can help the Thief with her ritual.
Objective: Enter the Sanctum of Farsight
Titus and the Thief have begun the ritual. The Thief wants me to light the fires atop the pedestals in order to complete the ritual.
Objective: Activate the Ritual Fires
The Thief's ritual is complete. Now I should observe the vision shown to us through the use of the farsight ritual.
Objective: Observe the Farsight
The ritual worked. It showed us Regent Cassipia, the apparent source of the magical disturbance. She killed Kelmen when he tried to stop her. I should talk to the Thief and see what she has to say about all this.
Objective: Talk to the Thief
I need to meet the Thief at Loth'Na Caverns. Then we can find Regent Cassipia and stop her from becoming the Exalted Viper.
Objective: Enter Loth'Na Caverns
I entered the Loth'Na Caverns and caught up with the Thief. She plans to sneak ahead and meet me at the top of the rise. I should follow after her.
Objective: Meet the Thief at the Top of the Rise
The Thief wants me to activate the triggers to summon a bridge across the chasm.
Objective: Activate Bridge
A bridge of Aetherial energy now spans the chasm. I should cross over the bridge and enter Skyreach Temple.
Objective: Enter Skyreach Temple
Now that I'm inside Skyreach Temple, I need to find Regent Cassipia and stop her before she transforms into the Exalted Viper.
Objective: Defeat the Exalted Viper
The threat of the Exalted Viper has been defeated. The Thief has opened a portal back to the Star-Gazer's observatory. I should use it and meet her there.
Objective: Return to the Star-Gazer's Observatory
Finishes quest☑ Now that the Exalted Viper has been defeated and we're back in Belkarth, I should talk to the Thief.
Objective: Talk to the Thief
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.