Darkfall Cave is a location in The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard. The cave is located north of Markarth in the Reach. It is inhabited by Frostbite Spiders and trolls. As part of the Dawnguard questline in the quest "Touching the Sky," the Dragonborn must enter this cave to search for Auriel's Bow after learning its location from the Elder Scroll. At the end of the cave, they find one of the last remaining Snow Elves, Knight-Paladin Gelebor if the relevant quest has been started. The cave itself is moderately sized, and contains some water-filled areas, including one part where the Dragonborn can be briefly completely submerged. The cave is poorly lit in some areas. If the cave is accessed when the quest "Touching the Sky" is active, it leads to Darkfall Passage.
Inside the entrance there is a winding passage and a frostbite spider. The passage directly behind the spider (it will be covered in webs, and can be cleared using any weapon/destruction magic), can be accessed further into the cave, and acts as an exit path, allowing the Dragonborn to leave from the furthest reaches of the initial cave. At the end of the short tunnel past the spider is a bridge over a dark chasm, leading to a dead end with a table, a pickaxe, and two moonstone ore veins.
After reaching this point there is no turning back, as crossing the bridge again will cause it to collapse, sending the Dragonborn (and any followers they might have who are on the bridge), plunging into a rapidly flowing stream below. The stream swiftly carries the Dragonborn deeper into the cave system, eventually bringing them into a frostbite spider den. The Dragonborn should head north from here (killing or sneaking past any frostbite spiders which may appear), eventually reaching a slope to the north, which leads to a path further into the cave, and a bridge across the stream to the east which leads to a Giant frostbite spider lair and a chest containing random loot.
Proceed along the northwards path further into the cave, which immediately forks, providing two parallel paths. The Dragonborn can take either path, as they merge into one again a short distance later. Further along the path, there is a camp, occupied by a dead Breton, who has the Darkfall Cave Note, which details a massacre that occurred in the cave, and the presence of trolls further in to the cave network. In the back (north) of the camp there is a bed, and behind that is a pull-chain which opens a path directly to the end of the initial cave and the Chantry of Auri-El, in which Knight-Paladin Gelebor can be found if the quest Touching the Sky has been started. The path leading west from the camp is an exit path, leading to a small passageway and a spiral staircase that leads to a pull-chain activated door which brings the Dragonborn to the beginning of the dungeon, where the first frostbite spider is located. Finally, the path leading east from the camp leads down a passageway, with a trip wire which triggers a rock slide trap. Further along, the path forks, and either path can be taken. The paths rejoin a short distance later at a large water-filled cavern, containing two trolls and a chest containing random loot to the north. The Dragonborn can kill or sneak past the trolls to the west, leading to Knight-Paladin Gelebor (if the relevant quest has been started).
Gelebor, potentially one of the last Snow Elves remaining in the whole land of Skyrim, can be found at the very end of the initial cave, within the Chantry of Auri-El if the quest Touching the Sky has been started. If the quest wasn't started before the Dragonborn entered the cave, Gelebor will not appear, and one can take a passageway opened with a pull chain in the south of the camp (the same pull-chain activated doorway in the Breton camp) and from there take the westward path that leads to the exit.
- An ample amount of glowing mushrooms and frostbite venom.
- Darkfall Cave Note – after traversing the waterways and making it past the frostbite spiders, there is a small camp (Serana will make a comment) with a deceased Breton. The note can be found on the Breton.
- Next to the aforementioned camp is a chest containing glowing mushrooms, spider eggs, troll fat, torches, and other valuables. And next to the chest is a night stand with Fire Resistance potions and a few spider eggs.
- 2 moonstone ore veins – one in the first chamber, another shortly after entering from Skyrim.
- Though not loot, at the end of the caves where the Dragonborn meets Gelebor, there is a Shrine of Auriel – one of only two in the entire game.
- While not the only location to find the following loot, the vale deer hide, and vale sabre cat hide can be found in Darkfall Cave. These two pieces of loot are simply unique aesthetic versions of deer hide, and sabre cat pelts, respectively.
- If one uses Whirlwind Sprint when crossing the bridge for the second time, it is possible to reach the other side before it collapses.
- If one is booted out of Fort Dawnguard (by either becoming a vampire or vampire lord) and they have Serana following them, should the Dragonborn have Serana stop acting as a follower, instead of going to the Fort where she is inaccessible, she chooses to go to Darkfall Cave where one can easily recruit her again.
- The Breton's reference ID is 0200A95A, and comes with the note by default.
- During "Touching the Sky," if the Dragonborn has another follower in addition to Serana, which is possible if the second follower was acquired while Serana was waiting before entering the Soul Cairn for the first time, it is best if this follower is dismissed before entering Darkfall Cave. Otherwise, it is possible to get the second follower partway to Gelebor, but they will almost certainly get permanently stuck somewhere along the way.
This section contains bugs related to Darkfall Cave. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Upon entering Darkfall Cave, the game may crash constantly. Re-installing the game may fix this.
- In the quest Touching the Sky, if the Dragonborn enters Darkfall Cave for the first time with a follower other than Serana, she will come in and dismiss the follower. However, she might be stuck there and won't follow the Dragonborn as they go further down; even if the Dragonborn leaves the cave, she will not follow them out. For any quest scene that requires her dialogue, however, she will be present without delay.
- Upon entering the cave, one may fall continuously through the ground. This can be used to fall all the way to the bottom of the cave, if the Dragonborn is careful to fall into water. Reloading an earlier save may fix this.
- When using a damage-dealing shout on the tunnels where the Falmer come from to hurt them before they emerge, they may get stuck in the tunnel or phase through the player if the player gets too close to them.