Not to be confused with Lifting the Veil.
"Back at the end of the First Era, raiders from the continent of Akavir attempted to gain a foothold here in Tamriel. At that time, the Empire was broken into smaller factions. Reman Cyrodiil decided to unify them and form an army to repel the Akaviri raiders. The force became known as the Army of Reman. The two armies clashed in what's now northern Cyrodiil."
―Countess Narina Carvain[src]

Lifting the Vale is a quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Background[edit | edit source]

When the Hero enters Bruma, a Nord named Tolgan will ask the Hero to meet with Countess Narina Carvain and give the Hero 25 Gold as an incentive. The Countess needs some help locating an artifact.

Walkthrough[edit | edit source]

The Countess[edit | edit source]

When the Hero speaks with the Countess in Castle Bruma, she mentions that she is an avid collector of Akaviri items and considers her collection the most complete in all of Cyrodiil.

However, one artifact, the Draconian Madstone, has eluded her for some time. Based on an old, transcribed Akaviri diary, Carvain believes that it can be found at the legendary Pale Pass, an Akaviri fort deep within the northern mountains.

Pale Pass Map

The fort at Pale Pass was the location of several Akaviri staged assaults during their invasion of Tamriel from the north many ages ago. The countess believes that the Akaviri commander had the stone in his possession and tasks the Hero with finding it.

She gives the Hero a transcription of the journal, which provides an explanation of how to find the legendary Pass, and a roughly drawn map of Pale Pass that was found with the journal. She also provides the first map marker, Dragonclaw Rock.

Serpent's Trail[edit | edit source]

The exterior of Serpent's Trail

To find Dragonclaw Rock, follow the dirt path east and then northeast from Bruma. Once there, head northwest up the mountain and one should find the cave's location Serpent's Trail. Be careful at the entrance, as there may be Will-o-the-Wisps present. In the trail, there are leveled creatures, Pale Pass Ogre Stonewreckers and animals as well as a dreugh, depending on level.

Watch out for trap pads on the ground. One will eventually come across a skeleton, prompting a message window informing the Hero that the skeleton belongs to the same dead messenger that authored the journal. The skeleton is holding the Akaviri Orders that were supposed to be delivered to the commander. The Hero may choose to pick up these orders or not. Doing so is not required to complete the quest; however, it does affect later dialogue. Continue on through the cave until reaching a door that leads outside to Pale Pass.

Pale Pass[edit | edit source]

The hidden fort at Pale Pass

In Pale Pass, the Hero will find Pale Pass Ogre Stonewreckers and possibly wolves, bears or rats. Simply follow the path north-northwest until arriving at the old fort. Enter the fort into the Mouth of the Serpent, located in a dilapidated tower.

The Ancient Fort[edit | edit source]

Once the Hero has entered the fort, head down the hall and watch out for a log trap when reaching the first hallway intersection. The main enemies of this fort are Undead Akaviri Soldiers, who each wield a Ruined Akaviri Katana and a Ruined Akaviri Shield.

The goal room is the Venom of the Serpent. There are several ways to get there from the beginning, although if one has the intention to scout out and eliminate everything in the whole place, one will eventually make it there. If not, the quickest and most direct way is the following:

At the first hallway intersection, make a left, go up the stairs and jump across the hallway to the other side (or, if the Hero doesn't have a high Acrobatics skill, jump to the side platform to get across). Then enter the Scales of the Serpent. Go down the stairs, but slow down once the Hero comes to the hallway, as there will be several loose rocks in the ceiling. Allow the rocks to fall and then proceed.

Follow the hallway as it turns left, lower and cross the bridge, and enter the Fangs of the Serpent. Once inside, look at the columns. One should notice that they have arrow trap holes. These can easily be avoided by circling around to the right and jumping around the outside of the columns. Lower the bridge and cross it, then make a left and enter the Venom of the Serpent.

Commander Mishaxhi[edit | edit source]

The Akaviri Commander

In the Venom, there will be the ghost of Akaviri Commander Mishaxhi. Don't attack him yet. Go up and talk to him and he'll ask where the orders are. There are three options, all of which are viable:

  1. "I'm here for the Madstone." — This option will anger him ("How dare you address me that way!") and cause him to attack the Hero.
  2. "Here are your orders." — If one has picked up the orders from the dead messenger, they can be given to him. The commander will be satisfied, the entire fort will be at peace, and all remaining skeletons will die.
  3. "I'm from the army of Reman!" — This option will also anger him ("Then prepare for battle! I'll not let this fort fall to the dogs of Reman!") and cause him to attack the Hero.

The Draconian Madstone

Any of these three options will work and will ultimately achieve the same purpose: opening the wall behind Mishaxhi where three chests and the Draconian Madstone are hidden. If the Hero decided to kill Mishaxhi, he will drop the Akaviri Dai-Katana, but be sure to pick it up immediately. Otherwise, the katana will disappear with his ghostly body.

Return to the Countess[edit | edit source]

Go back out to Pale Pass and then fast travel back to Bruma for the reward of the Ring of the Vipereye. The player can reenter Pale Pass at any time by traveling through the Serpent's Trail once more, and any side quests can be completed thus.

Minor side quest: Keys and Barrels[edit | edit source]


As a small side quest in the area, in one of the small frozen ponds southeast of the fort there is a Frozen Barrel. In this barrel, they will find a key and a Crumpled Note.

The note tells a story of how a thief (G.S.) stole a ring from the wizard Ortharzel. After fleeing, this mysterious person ends up in Pale Pass and decides to hide the ring here. The note mentions that the thief used the "key to a key" trick.

The key from the Frozen Barrel unlocks the Rusty Chest hidden among the grass in the tower just west of the entrance to the Mouth of the Serpent. The Rusty Chest contains a key to the Old Chest hidden behind some rocks along the trail southeast of the lake with the Frozen Barrel.

The Old Chest contains the key to the Forgotten Chest southwest of the entrance back to Serpent's Trail. Lastly, the Forgotten Chest contains the stolen Circlet of Omnipotence, a one-pound ring which increases five attributes by a small amount each. The chests in the area respawn every week or so, so the Circlet of Omnipotence can be retrieved multiple times, though only one may be worn. The copies may be sold or put into storage, however.

Journal[edit | edit source]

Journal Entry
  • Update: After hearing rumors:

I've learned that the Countess of Bruma, Narina Carvain is the collector of Akaviri artifacts. Apparently, she's seeking a particular piece to add her relics. The townsperson I spoke to recommended I seek out Tolgan, her steward, if I was interested in retrieving the piece.

  • Update: After speaking to Tolgan:

I've met a Nord named Tolgan. Apparently, he's the herald of Countess Narina Carvain from here in Bruma. He presented me with a stipend of gold, and a request from Lady Carvain to meet her at the castle. Not wanting to offend the Countess, I should accept the request, and make my way there when she holds court.

  • Update: After speaking to Countess Narina Carvain:

Countess Narina Carvain has told me that she's seeking a particular relic of Akaviri origin: The Draconian Madstone, an amulet that supposedly grants the wearer immunity to poison. It's recently come to her attention that it may be located in the ruins at Pale Pass. She's offering a substantial reward for the talisman's return. I should speak to her for more information.

  • Update: If you decline her offer:

I've declined Countess Narina Carvain's offer for now. She said I could return at any time if I wish to change my mind.

  • Update: If you accept her offer:

I've accepted the task. Countess Carvain revealed that she has the diary of a messenger from the original Akiviri army that marched on Cyrodiil at the end of the First Era. The messenger's diary supposedly gives clues to the location of the ruins at Pale Pass. The Countess has provided me with a map, a translation of the diary to use as a guide and a key that may unlock a door at the site.

  • Update: After accepting her offer and speaking to her more:

Countess Carvain has told me that her scouts have already located the first landmark mentioned in the diary, Dragonclaw Rock. It's been marked on my map, so I should begin the journey from there.

  • Update: After finding Dragonclaw Rock:

I've arrived at Dragonclaw Rock. I should consult the messenger's diary to learn the way to the next landmark.

  • Update: After finding the Sentinel:

I've reached the second landmark, The Sentinel. I should consult the messenger's diary once again to discern the way to the third landmark.

  • Update: After finding Serpent's Trail:

I've found the third landmark, The Serpent's Trail, which seems to be an underground passage. I'll need to traverse this passage if I'm to find the ruins.

  • Update: After finding the messenger's skeletal body:

I've discovered the body of the messenger who penned the diary I've been carrying. Even though he died over a thousand years ago, the bones have been well preserved by the frost in the caves. He seems to be clutching something in his bony hand. I should investigate.

  • Update: After retrieving the written tablet in the messenger's hand:

Near the body of the messenger, I've discovered a slate tablet with what appears to be Akaviri writing on its surface. These must be the orders the messenger spoke about in the diary.

  • Update: After fighting through Serpent's Trail and emerging into Pale Pass:

I've emerged from The Serpent's Trail and find myself face to face with the legendary Pale Pass. A path winds down into the snowy valley. If I follow it, it should lead me directly to the ruins.

  • Update: After finding Fort Pale Pass:

I've discovered the crumbled walls of the once mighty Fort Pale Pass. It appears to have been destroyed by a landslide long ago. I should proceed into the ruins and search for the Madstone.

  • Update: After entering the Mouth of the Serpent of Fort Pale Pass:

The ruins appear to be infested with undead Akaviri. I don't know how long they've been trapped here, but I should proceed with caution. I need to locate the Akaviri commander of the fort who is said to possess the Draconian Madstone.

  • Update: If you show the Akaviri Commander the orders:

After seeing the orders, the Akaviri Commander vanished. The ruins are now silent and at peace. After so many years, the Akaviri's final mission has been completed. I should proceed ahead and search for the Madstone.

  • Update: If you kill the Akaviri Commander:

I've destroyed the commander of the Akaviri fort. I should proceed ahead and search for the Madstone.

  • Update: After obtaining the Draconian Madstone:

I've obtained the Draconian Madstone. I should now make the long journey back to Countess Carvain in Bruma.

  • Update: After giving the Madstone to the Countess and completing the quest:
I've given Countess Carvain the Draconian Madstone. She was extremely pleased, and rewarded me with an Akaviri artifact from her personal collection called the Ring of the Vipereye.
  • Quest complete

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This is a long quest, so be prepared and stock up on healing and magicka potions before leaving. If experienced in Security, bring a lot of lockpicks as there are many locked chests on the way that contain some good loot and gold. If a mage with experience in Conjuration, summoning creatures can help in battle.
  • It is recommended that one scout out the entire fort as the chests contain some valuable loot.
  • Note that Mishaxhi is one level above the Hero and has a full Blades Kit.
  • If the player reads the book in the display case to the right of the Countess' throne, they will be treated to the (to date) only example of the Tsaesci language in written form.

Bugs[edit | edit source]

This section contains bugs related to Lifting the Vale. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  • The reward is a quest item that cannot be removed from the inventory and in some 360 versions of the game, can be incredibly harmful. It has enchantments lesser than the Draconian Madstone that they have to trade for it. But regardless, going to jail can remove every single quest item from the inventory.
  • The Ring of the Vipereye is a glitched item and is much weaker than the Draconian Madstone, but after completing the quest, one can find the Madstone behind the countess' throne sitting in a display stand. One can easily steal it.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

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