Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
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For other uses, see Touching the Sky.

Touching the Sky is a quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard. It serves as the penultimate quest in the Dawnguard main questline and involves traveling to the Forgotten Vale with Serana in search of Auriel's Bow.


The vision provided by the Elder Scrolls seems to indicate that Auriel's Bow may be located in a place known as Darkfall Cave. I should proceed there as soon as I'm prepared if I wish to recover the bow and stop Harkon from completing the Tyranny of the Sun.

The name of the quest is a reference to an ancient Falmer tome of the same name. The book itself depicts an ancient ritual carried out by initiates of the Chantry of Auri-El. It describes the trials and struggles that they had to endure in order to secure an audience with the Arch Curate and reach enlightenment. Subsequently, this incredibly difficult journey must be taken by the Dragonborn and is a major aspect of the quest.


If one has a second follower in addition to Serana (possible if the second follower was acquired at a particular point during "Chasing Echoes"), it is recommended that the second follower be dismissed before entering Darkfall Cave, otherwise they may get permanently stuck somewhere in Darkfall Cave. The second follower can be re-recruited just after killing the boss at the end of this quest, and the second follower slot should then persist for the entire game.

Darkfall Cave

Enter Darkfall Cave and follow the winding path past the waterfall. Kill the frostbite spider that is lurking in the shadows and then take the right-hand path at the junction. Continue down until an old wooden bridge is encountered. On the far side of the bridge are two moonstone ore veins and a pickaxe on a table. Attempting to walk back across the bridge will cause it to collapse, and the Dragonborn will fall into the rapids below.

The rapids will sweep the Dragonborn down a long tunnel and past a few frostbite spiders, awakening them. A short drop down a waterfall will deposit the Dragonborn into a large spider nest, with three spiders in tow. After killing the spiders, follow the river and defeat four more spider who will awaken. A giant frostbite spider will also emerge from a tunnel in the wall which also contains a chest. Follow the path and proceed up the dark tunnel until an abandoned camp at a junction point is found.

Nearby, a Breton woman lies dead and is carrying a Darkfall Cave Note explaining the massacre. There are two ways to proceed: the first method is a shortcut that is accessed by pulling a chain behind the bed shelter in the camp, which opens a nearby stone wall door; the second method is the long winding path to the east of the camp that leads downhill, past a boulder tripwire trap, and into a large cavern that is host to two trolls. Either method will lead to a mysterious person praying at an altar.

Auriel's Shrine

The Shrine of Auriel

The person is Knight-Paladin Gelebor, one of the last living Snow Elves. When approached, he will introduce himself and welcome the Dragonborn to the Chantry of Auri-El. He will give a little background about himself and his race and then the topic will turn to Auriel's Bow. He will mention that he knows that that is why the Dragonborn is here, and he is willing to help, but in order to acquire the bow, the Dragonborn must assist him and kill his brother, Arch-Curate Vyrthur.

When questioned about his brother, he will recount the story of when the chantry was attacked by a horde of falmer. Gelebor believes that Vyrthur was corrupted by the falmer, as after the attack his change in behavior was significant. He mentions that Vyrthur never looks as though he is in pain or under duress. He just stands in one place and watches, as though waiting.

After inquiring about how to reach his brother, Gelebor casts a spell on the large dome-like structure, called a wayshrine, which raises to reveal an arched opening. He gives the Dragonborn an initiate's ewer and explains that to reach the Inner Sanctum, one must follow the path of an initiate of the Chantry of Auri-El, as described in the book Touching the Sky. This involves passing through five wayshrines that will eventually lead to the Inner Sanctum where his brother and Auriel's Bow are located. Serana, curious about the process, will begin a conversation with Gelebor:

Serana: "What's that basin in the center signify?"
Gelebor: "Once the Initiate completed his mantras, he'd dip a ceremonial ewer in the basin at the wayshrine's center and proceed to the next wayshrine."
Serana: "So these Initiates had to lug around a heavy pitcher of water. Marvelous. How long would they have to do that?"
Gelebor: "Well, once the Initiate's enlightenment was complete, he'd bring the ewer to the Chantry's Inner Sanctum. Pouring the contents of the ewer into the sacred basin of the Sanctum would allow him to enter for an audience with the Arch-Curate himself."
Serana: "All that just to end up dumping it out? Makes no sense to me."
Gelebor: "It's symbolic. I don't expect you to understand."
Serana: "So let's get this straight. We need to do all that nonsense to get into the temple, so we can kill your brother and claim Auriel's Bow?"
Gelebor: "I know how it all sounds, but if there was another way I'd have done it long ago. The only way to get to my brother is by following in the Initiates' footsteps and traveling from wayshrine to wayshrine just as they did. The first lay at the end of Darkfall Passage, a cavern that represents the absence of enlightenment."

Once the conversation has ended, proceed inside the wayshrine and into the portal to Darkfall Passage.

Darkfall Passage

Follow the corridor past the water where a falmer and chaurus hunter will attack. Farther down, the tunnel opens up into where there are additional falmer and chaurus. Near the east wall is a small puddle that leads deep down into a secret tunnel where a skeleton lies by some gleamblossom, leveled loot and Darkfall Passage Note I. Head west into another tunnel, past a falmer claw trap and a chest.

The path leads to a small falmer camp where several will attack, alongside a few chaurus hunters. Drop down into the crevice the waterfall disperses into, where two skeletons will be found. Follow the path up and around a bend to find another skeleton and a leveled treasure chest. From there, simply follow the path up farther to find a pull chain that opens the way back into the falmer camp area. Follow the path behind the waterfall to come to another camp with several falmer. Head up the walkway, past the curious sculpture and through the room with the large crystal. Following yet another tunnel will lead to a large cavern with another waterfall. Two regular falmer and a boss level falmer are present here. A small hut near the walkway contains a boss level chest.

Proceed up the walkway through the waterfall. To the right is a room with several traps, a chest and an alchemy lab and some potions. To the left is boulder trap within a long tunnel that contains a skeleton with a note called Darkfall Passage Note II that warns of several traps. Two rope releases will be fixed to the wall by the skeleton. The left one will open the stone door and the right will activate the trap. A vale sabre cat will be seated just as the door opens. After killing it, proceeding through the passage will lead to an enormous cavern, with many giant glowing mushrooms as seen in Blackreach. Progress down the cavern past the waterfall and up a stone path until the Wayshrine of Illumination is reached on the western wall where Prelate Sidanyis is waiting. Like Gelebor, he will cast a spell on the wayshrine and it raises to reveal a door. Proceed inside and draw water from the basin, then head into the portal to Forgotten Vale.

Forgotten Vale

Forgotten Vale

Traverse through the initial tunnel until it leads to an opening. Walking up the spiral path will lead outdoors into the Forgotten Vale. The goal in this area is to fill the initiate's ewer from the remaining four wayshrines dotted around the valley. Head down to the floor of the valley fighting off any vale sabre cats, and past some ancient ruins. Keep heading north-west and follow the decrepit path. Just before the second arch, take a right north-east through the trees to reach the Wayshrine of Sight where Prelate Athring will be waiting. As before, speak to the Prelate to raise the wayshrine and collect the ewer.

Head back along the ruined path and south-west up the hill that leads to a ravine guarded by four frostbite spiders of varying size. Keep heading downhill along the path. A skeleton, Unknown Book, Vol. I and a chest can be found on the right side of the path before the partially frozen river is reached. At the river, head south along the bank until the Wayshrine of Learning is reached. Speak to Prelate Celegriath and collect the ewer. Now head back along the river bank and keep traveling north-west until a steep stepped path is visible to the north. A frost giant holding an amethyst paragon will also be standing by the river to the right. Climb the stepped northern path to the top. The next wayshrine should be visible across the river to the west. Continue along the mountain path and across the natural rock bridge over the river to reach the Wayshrine of Resolution where Prelate Nirilor will be waiting. As before, speak to the Prelate to raise the wayshrine and collect the ewer.

A word of power for Drain Vitality can also be learned just to the south of the Wayshrine of Resolution, in the middle of the large frozen lake. The word wall is typically guarded by two dragons, Naaslaarum and Voslaarum; however, if the quest "Dragon Rising" has not been completed, the word wall is guarded by two ice wraiths. Moreover, a frost giant which holds the sapphire paragon can be found east of the Wayshrine of Resolution.

The final wayshrine is located some distance away. Go back up the hill to the Wayshrine of Resolution. Head back over the rock bridge and continue west downhill into a falmer camp by the river. A large falmer village teeming with falmer exists in the mountains above the river, but it can be bypassed by traveling upstream and defeating a few chaurus hunters passing the entrance to Sharpslope Cave. Though the village mainly contains standard falmer loot, there are a few items of note. The village has a small enclave that houses the frost giant that hold the emerald paragon. In a hidden passage in Sharpslope Cave is a shellbug, and in one of the village huts is the Unknown Book, Vol. III. To get it, head north from the entrance to the Glacial Crevice, up the rock bridge that leads to the left. Turn slightly right and cross another rock bridge, then turn sharply left and cross the falmer bridge leading west-southwest. Turn right and cross one more rock bridge to the hut that holds the book.

Head up the path, past the waterfall and under the stone arch to reach another camp by a vast glacial wall. After killing the guarding falmer, walk into the glacial crevice.

Glacial Crevice

Glacial Crevice

Following the ice tunnel leads to an enormous frozen ravine inhabited by more falmer. Travel up the ice walkway, killing any falmer who attack. At the top is another tunnel that leads deeper into the ravine. Dodge past the falmer claw trap and walk along the perilous icy edge of the cliff. Head along the path, past the various falmer and chaurus, and into another tunnel. Keep heading east and the tunnel will open up into a smaller ravine. Climb up the spiral path and through another tunnel to lead up to a higher pathway of the ravine. Head along another perilous path and defeat the guarding falmer. Cross the rope bridge and head north-east past the ancient pillars that leads back out to the Forgotten Vale.

Wayshrine of Radiance

The cave exits into another falmer camp entrenched in a ravine. The optional diamond paragon can be obtained from a frost giant by immediately turning left and following the path uphill that leads to him.

Then head east up the walkways defeating the plethora of falmer. Keep heading east to reach a hut with a mammoth skull over it. Inside is the Unknown Book, Vol. IV and a boss chest. Head back out and drop down to the floor of the ravine and keep heading south into a tunnel. Traverse through the tunnel past the boulder trap and up through to the Wayshrine of Radiance, tended by Prelate Edhelbor. Speak to the Prelate to raise the wayshrine and collect the final ewer. Once this has been completed, turn and head northeast toward the inner sanctum.

Inner Sanctum

The statue of Auri-El

Walk across the ornate bridge and up the stairs into the courtyard of the inner sanctum where a statue of Auri-El stands tall, ready to greet visitors. Head up the steps and pour the ewer into the basin. The ewer will flow towards the main door and unlock the seal.

Once inside, proceed forward to see several falmer frozen like statues around the main lobby. Several are gathered around a Shrine of Auriel and a few hold leveled loot in their hands. However, taking the loot causes some of the frozen falmer and their chaurus to break free and attack. Defeating them causes their frozen bodies to shatter into pieces.

On the western wall is an altar that, when activated by placing the ewer atop, opens a hidden door. This path leads to a room that houses a frost giant who holds a ruby paragon. Another hidden room near the frost giant can be accessed in the same way if the ewer is removed from the altar and taken inside before the door seals itself.

Head back into the lobby and proceed north through the ruined temple past more frozen falmer. The path will lead through a glacial tunnel that leads to Auriel's chapel.

Auriel's Chapel

Auriel's Chapel

Head forward and drop down. Proceed through the collapsed hallway that opens up into a small cavern housing several frozen falmer and Arch-Curate Vyrthur seated on a throne. After his initial dialogue, the frozen falmer and chaurus will awaken. After defeating the initial wave, large parts of the ceiling will begin to fall and more falmer will attack. Next, Arch-Curate Vyrthur will summon an ancient frost atronach and more falmer. Once everything has been defeated, Vyrthur will destroy the entire roof of the chapel in a fit of rage and retreat out to a grand balcony overlooking the Forgotten Vale. Pursue him, past the wayshrine and up the stairs. Serana will initiate the following dialogue:

Serana: "Enough, Vyrthur. Give us the bow!"

Arch-Curate Vyrthur "How dare you. I was the Arch-Curate of Auri-El, girl. I had the ears of a god!"
Serana: "Until the "Betrayed" corrupted you. Yes, yes. We've heard this sad story"
Arch-Curate Vyrthur: "Gelebor and his kind are easily manipulated fools. Look into my eyes, Serana. You tell me what I am."
Serana: "You're... you're a vampire? But Auriel should have protected you..."
Arch-Curate Vyrthur: "The moment I was infected by one of my own Initiates, Auri-El turned his back on me. I swore I'd have my revenge, no matter what the cost."
Serana: "You want to take revenge... on a god?"
Arch-Curate Vyrthur: "Auri-El himself may have been beyond my reach, but his influence on our world wasn't. All I needed was the blood of a vampire and his own weapon, Auriel's Bow."
Serana: "The blood of a vampire... Auriel's Bow... It... it was you? You created that prophecy?"
Arch-Curate Vyrthur: "A prophecy that lacked a single, final ingredient... the blood of a pure vampire. The blood of a Daughter of Coldharbour."
(At this point, Serana grabs Vyrthur by the shoulders and holds him in the air in anger.)
Serana: "You were waiting... all this time for someone with my blood to come along. Well, too bad for you... I intend on keeping it. Let's see if your blood has any power to it!"
(Vyrthur uses his feet to push himself free of Serana's grip and charges with magic while hovering in the air as he prepares to face them in combat.)
Vyrthur: "What trickery is this?"

Final battle

After this exchange he will attack. In battle he uses ice magic that Snow Elves were famed for. Spells such as Icy Spear and Frost Cloak in addition to a unique variant of Vampiric Drain, that also drains stamina, make up the core of his arsenal, alongside Lightning Bolt to quickly drain his opponent's health and prevent them from using Restoration spells to recover. He also typically summons a frost atronach at the start of a battle. Once his magicka runs dry he switches to his frost-enchanted elven dagger.

Once he has been defeated, the balcony wayshrine will raise and Gelebor will exit. Speaking to him will begin the following conversation:

"So, the deed has been done. The restoration of this wayshrine means that Vyrthur must be dead and the Betrayed no longer have control over him."

The Betrayed weren't to blame: "What? What are you talking about?"

He was a vampire. He controlled them: "A vampire? I see. That would explain much. Deep inside, it brings me joy that the Betrayed weren't to blame for what happened here."

Why?: "Because that means there's still hope that they might one day shed their hatred and learn to believe in Auri-El once again. It's been a long time since I felt that way and it's been long overdue. My thanks, to both of you."

You're welcome: "You risked everything to get Auri-El's Bow, and in turn, you've restored the Chantry. I can't think of a more deserving champion to carry it than you. If you wish to learn more about the bow, or obtain Sunhallowed Arrows for it, I'd be more than happy to help. You've but to ask."

After speaking to him retrieve Auriel's Bow from inside the wayshrine. This will end the quest and immediately begin the final quest: "Kindred Judgment."


Touching the Sky – DLC1VQ07
ID Journal Entry
10 Dawnguard: The vision provided by the Elder Scrolls seems to indicate that Auriel's Bow may be located in a place known as Darkfall Cave. I should proceed there as soon as I'm prepared if I wish to recover the bow and stop Harkon from completing the Tyranny of the Sun.
  • Objective 20: Locate Auriel's Bow
Vampire: The vision provided by the Elder Scrolls seems to indicate that Auriel's Bow may be located in a place known as Darkfall Cave. I should proceed there as soon as I'm prepared if I wish to recover the bow and stop Harkon from completing the Tyranny of the Sun.
  • Objective 20: Locate Auriel's Bow
  • Objective 30: Speak to Gelebor
50 I've encountered Gelebor, a snow elf Knight-Paladin of the Chantry of Auri-El. He's requesting I kill his brother, Arch-Curate Vyrthur, who's been corrupted by the Falmer. I've been given an Initiate's Ewer which will ultimately provide me access to the Chantry's Inner Sanctum where both Arch-Curate Vyrthur and Auriel's Bow are located.
  • Objective 50: Survive Darkfall Passage
  • Objective 70: Fill the Initiate's Ewer ( /5)
100 I've completely filled the Initiate's Ewer given to me by Knight-Paladin Gelebor. All that remains is gaining access to the Chantry's Inner Sanctum where both Arch-Curate Vyrthur and Auriel's Bow are located.
  • Objective 80: Gain entry to the Inner Sanctum
110 I've gained access to the Chantry's Inner Sanctum. I should find and confront Arch-Curate Vyrthur in order to secure Auriel's Bow.
  • Objective 90: Locate Arch-Curate Vyrthur
  • Objective 100: Confront Arch-Curate Vyrthur
  • Objective 110: Slay Arch-Curate Vyrthur
  • Objective 120: Speak to Gelebor
  • Objective 130: Retrieve Auriel's Bow
200 It's been revealed to me that the Tyranny of the Sun was created by Arch-Curate Vyrthur as his revenge upon Auriel for rebuking him when he was turned into a vampire. He possessed Auriel's Bow, but still needed the blood of a pure vampire to complete his ritual. This placed Serana in mortal danger, and I had no choice but to destroy him. I now possess the final piece of the Tyranny of the Sun, Auriel's Bow.
  • Quest complete


  • During the fight with Vyrthur, he can be defeated easily by using Unrelenting Force on him as he stands at the balcony, causing him to fall onto the ice below.


This section contains bugs related to Touching the Sky (Quest). 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  /  PS5  ,  XS  , 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.
Click to see the list of bugs encountered
  •  360   Sometimes the Glacial Crevice can load incorrectly, causing everything to look black aside from the light source high above, thus making navigation very difficult. The option to Load an earlier save is deactivated, as is the character menu. Fortunately, if the Dragonborn stays totally still, the river will carry them back out of the area.
    •  360 (Fix)   Re-entering can fix the problem.
  •  360   Sometimes the game will state there is an enemy nearby where trying to retrieve the water from one of the basins. Fast traveling to another area and then fast traveling back to Forgotten Vale seems to fix this.
  •  360   Sometimes, after Arch-Curate Vyrthur makes the ceiling collapse, Serana will freeze immediately after talking to you. Her head will be able to watch you move, but her body cannot follow.
  •  PC   After confronting Arch-Curate Vyrthur and defeating the first wave of unfrozen enemies, he may not react and spawn a second wave, ceasing quest progress.
    •  PC (Fix)   A possible solution is to load a save location prior to the battle and re-attempt it. The point at which progress halts may vary every time, and you may be able to progress without issue up to the end.
  •  PC   360   The final objective to "Retrieve Auriel's Bow" may not properly register as completed as it should, even after picking it up. A message signifying the quest's completion will still turn up, though the game ceases to progress after that. Neither Serana nor Gelebor will have proper dialogue options, and the following quest "Kindred Judgment" does not begin.
  • Arch-Curate Vyrthur might be invisible at the part when you have to talk to him. He might start attacking you, but still cannot be seen.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Sometimes, asking Serana to wait while in Darkfall Passage, or near the last wayshrine before reaching the Inner Sanctum in the Forgotten Vale outside the Glacial Crevice, can lead to her being stuck, as there will be no dialogue option to ask her to follow again. The only solution for this is to reload a previous save.
  •  PC   XB1   NX   When activating the Wayshrine of Illumination, the portal may not appear and the quest marker will disappear. However, this appears to be a visual glitch, for going up to the wall will display the message, "Open into Darkfall Passage." Interacting with this will allow entry into Darkfall Passage, progressing the quest as normal and returning the quest markers.