Skyrim:Beyond Death

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Search for Valerica in the Soul Cairn.
Quest Giver: Automatic upon entering the Soul Cairn during Chasing Echoes
Location(s): The Soul Cairn
Prerequisite Quest: Chasing Echoes
Concurrent Quest: Seeking Disclosure
Reward: Summon Durnehviir shout
Suggested Level: 13

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Locate Valerica.
  2. Kill the Boneyard Keepers.
  3. Follow Valerica.
  4. Slay Durnehviir.
  5. Retrieve the Elder Scroll.
  6. (If not a vampire) Retrieve the Soul Essence Gem. (Misc. objective)

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

My Mother's Keeper[edit]

Serana fighting a Keeper

Upon your arrival in the Soul Cairn, follow the quest marker to the Boneyard and find Serana's mother Valerica standing near the entrance. She is initially surprised to find her daughter in the Cairn, before turning her focus on you and your motives for accompanying Serana. Once Serana has interceded for you, Valerica reveals she is still in possession of the Blood Elder Scroll. However, she is trapped in the Boneyard by an invisible barrier after fighting with the Ideal Masters and their minions when first arriving in the Cairn.

To release her, she directs you to defeat the three Boneyard Keepers located across the Cairn. The Keepers each live in separate towers, set apart from the main Boneyard and relatively far apart. The easiest way to navigate to them is by following the three quest markers.

Each of the Keepers is accompanied by 1-4 minions (bonemen, mistmen or wrathmen) that will attack you, usually ahead of your encounter with the Keeper. The Keepers themselves may prove quite a challenge to lower level players, so make full use of Serana's fighting capabilities. One possible strategy for the bow-wielding Keeper is to use Unrelenting Force to blast it off the edge of the tower.

Dealing with the Dragon[edit]

Once the final Keeper is defeated, return to Valerica. The invisible barrier has now been removed, allowing her to lead you into the Boneyard itself. Once inside, the dragon Durnehviir will appear and immediately attack you, supported by a host of bonemen. Once he has been defeated, head to the alcove in the southeast corner, where you will find the Elder Scroll surrounded by a number potions, ingredients and books.

Once you leave the Boneyard from the southwest gate, Durnehviir will rematerialize on top of a nearby stone arch and speak to you, starting his quest. If you tell him you have more pressing matters to attend to, his quest will not begin and you will need to return to him at a later time to initiate it. If you are a vampire, simply head southwest back to the portal; if you are not, see the section below.

Scattered Soul[edit]

If you are not a vampire and allowed Serana to partially soul trap you in order to enter the Soul Cairn, you will first need to retrieve your soul from a Soul Essence Gem. As Valerica explains, this is located at an offering altar not far away. After exiting the Boneyard from the southwest gate, head west-northwest until you reach a fort-like structure with an entrance on the south side. Follow the winding corridor, dispatching the odd wrathman before emerging into an exterior area. From here head south and east back inside the fort and follow the corridor due north. At the second junction leading east you will find a portal, which takes you outside on the top of the fort. On a raised platform you will find the Soul Essence Gem; once you take it a Black Soul Gem will be added to your inventory and you will start emanating a shaft of bright blue light. You can now exit the fort, head south towards the breach in the Cairn walls and then southwest to the portal back to Castle Volkihar.


One achievement is unlocked when you complete this quest:

  • SR-achievement-Beyond Death.png Beyond DeathDG (20 points/Bronze)


  • Given the vastness of the Soul Cairn, learning how to summon Arvak is recommended.
  • While Valerica's instructs you to retrieve the Soul Gem Essence if you are not a vampire, it is also possible to simply exit the Cairn and complete this quest, which will result in the Weakened Soul effect being removed.
  • The soul essence gem can be retrieved before talking to Valerica. If you do so, she won't talk about it.
  • It is possible to kill the Keepers before talking to Valerica the first time which unlocks a new line of dialogue from her about it. In order to find the Keepers it is a good idea to look at the top of the buildings until you spot ones with debris swirling around the top of them; the only other building that has this look is Valerica's prison.
  • If you sided with the Volkihar, but cured yourself of vampirism before entering the Soul Cairn, Valerica will still refer to you as a vampire.


  • After you kill Durnehviir, there will be a prompt to search him but it is impossible to do so.
  • Sometimes after you retrieve your fragmented soul, the stairs leading back to Volkihar Castle on the return trip will be unusable and be part pixelated and you will walk right through them. Re-load a previous save to correct. ?
  • Immediately upon leaving the Boneyard, it is possible to attack Durnehviir before he begins dialogue with you. This may make him hostile or at least prevent dialogue from occurring, making it impossible to obtain the "Summon Durnehviir" shout and by extension the "Soul Tear" shout.
  • Valerica will sometimes not move when you return to her after killing the Boneyard Keepers.
    • On PC Enter the Boneyard and defeat Durnehviir, press the "~" key to open console, and type tcl then press enter. You should be able to fly and move through objects; go to the Elder Scroll case and enter the container to pick up the scroll. This will trigger the next stage of the quest, and solve the bug without creating the later bug in the quest Unseen Visions.
    • On PC Another way of solving this is to go into Boneyard and type prid xx003B8E first and then moveto player . This will teleport Valerica next to you, and she will resume to her correct pathing. As for Serana, just repeat the process but type prid xx002B74 instead.
  • Valerica will not give the dialogue to help you find the soul essence gem if you have already slain one or more of the keepers before talking to her. It is in a building near the westernmost keeper, the one that uses a one-handed weapon and a shield.
    • On PCThe chest that contains the soul essence gem can be reached by typing player.moveto xx00EA8D . Beware that the chest is directly under one of the health-draining crystals, so this should not be done while low on health.
  • The mission can break if you go after the pages of Jiub's Opus and Arvak's Skull causing Serana to disappear and prevent you from furthering and completing the Dawnguard quest line. It is advised to complete the main quests in the Soul Cairn before going after them or walking everywhere in there so as not to lose Serana.
    • To get Serana back, simply go back through the portal to Volkihar. She should appear with you again, and you can then return to the Soul Cairn.
    • If Serana does not reappear in Castle Volkihar Ruins then exit through the door to Castle Volkihar Balcony, open the map and fast travel to Castle Volkihar Blacony again. She should appear next to you.
    • On PC The console commands prid xx002B74 and moveto player will teleport Serana to you.

Quest Stages[edit]

Beyond Death (DLC1VQ05)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
10 Serana and I have entered the Soul Cairn in pursuit of her estranged mother, Valerica, and the Elder Scroll she took when she fled Castle Volkihar.
Objective 10: Locate Valerica
Objective 20: Speak to Valerica
30 Serana and I have located Valerica imprisoned within a massive ruin. When confronted by us, Valerica revealed that Serana's blood is an integral part of the Tyranny of the Sun. After the reconciliation between the two of them, Valerica confessed to having the Elder Scroll hidden in her ramshackle living space. In order to free her from the prison, Serana and I will have to locate and slay the Keepers who maintain the barrier around the ruins.
Objective 30: Kill the Boneyard Keepers (<Global=DLC1VQ05KeepersKilled>/3) (only if any are still alive)
Objective 40: Speak to Valerica
50 Serana and I have slain all three of the Keepers and the barrier around Valerica's prison has faded. We rejoined Valerica, who has agreed to take us to the location where the Elder Scroll is hidden.
Objective 50: Follow Valerica
Objective 70: Slay Durnehviir
80 As Valerica was leading us to the Elder Scroll, an ancient dragon named Durnehviir swooped into the ruins and attacked. It proved to be a challenging battle, but we've emerged unscathed.
Objective 90: Speak to Valerica
Objective 95: Follow Valerica
Objective 100: Retrieve the Elder Scroll
Objective 110: Speak to Valerica
Objective 120: Return to Tamriel
200 Finishes quest☑ We've exited the Soul Cairn with the Elder Scroll in hand. Serana's mother, Valerica, is unwilling to return with us to Tamriel until we've dealt with her husband and thwarted the Tyranny of the Sun.
Finishes quest☑ We've exited the Soul Cairn with the Elder Scroll in hand. Serana's mother, Valerica, is unwilling to return with us to Tamriel until we've dealt with her husband and completed the Tyranny of the Sun using our own methods.
Objective 60: Retrieve the Elder Scroll
Beyond Death Soul Gem Handler (DLC1VQ05SoulGemHandler)
Objective 10: Retrieve the Soul Essence Gem
200 Finishes quest☑
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table:
    • DLC1VQ05: 0, 20, 28, 29.
    • DLC1VQ05SoulGemHandler: 10, 30.
  • Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, 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.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage DLC1VQ05 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest DLC1VQ05.
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