I finally finished my first playthrough of the Dragonborn DLC questline and boy, was it wild. In total, the questline took me 22 hours to complete.
In my last article, I explained that I had just started my playthrough and gave a general summary of what I had seen so far and what to expect from the DLC according to its description. Now that I have completed that playthrough, I’ll go a little more in depth with the questline itself.
• Warning, spoilers ahead.
This is the first quest in the Dragonborn DLC’s main questline. It can be triggered by completing a small portion of Skyrim’s main questline.
The fun begins after you are attacked by a pair of cultists claiming that you are the false Dragonborn. They are fairly easy to kill, and after doing so you can loot their bodies to find a note labeled “cultists orders.” Reading this note will prompt you to visit The Northern Maiden, a boat that can be found docked with others outside of the city of Windhelm. You also discover that the person behind the assassination attempt is named Miraak and that the cultists came from a place called Raven Rock.
Gjalund Salt-Sage is the captain of The Northern Maiden and will ask you for 250 gold in exchange for passage to the island of Solstheim. I personally convinced him to give me a free ride by guilt-tripping him for bringing the cultists who attacked me to Skyrim in the first place.
Upon arrival at the docks in Raven Rock, you will be approached by a stern fellow named Adril Arano, who demands that you state your intentions in Solstheim. The question seems to deeply confuse poor Adril as he tries to place where he knows the name Miraak from. He hems and haws for a moment before directing you to the Earth Stone, not far outside of the city of Raven Rock.
When you get to the Earth Stone, you will quickly realize something is off with the citizens other than the collective memory loss when it comes to the name Miraak. NPCs work around the clock with pickaxes and hammers on the Earth Stone and the rocks surrounding it with seemingly no clue as to how much time has passed.
You are approached by an NPC named Neloth when you get to the Earth Stone and he asks you what you are doing there. When you mention Miraak to him, it takes him a minute to put his thoughts together before he directs you to a place called The Temple of Miraak.
To get to the Temple of Miraak,
Alternatively, I have read that you can choose to speak to the people of Raven Rock to inquire about Miraak instead of visiting the Earth Stone and speaking with Neloth as I did. After speaking with a few of the locals, you will be directed to the Temple of Miraak.
The Temple of Miraak is a hike east from Raven Rock. As I mentioned in my previous article, the wilds of Solstheim are slightly different than Skyrim, with larger, more prehistoric looking vegetation and a variety of new creatures and enemies you will encounter. The walk took a bit of time due to this, in addition to attacks from wild animals (which seem to be much more frequent in Solstheim than in Skyrim).
Dragon bones litter the path to the exterior of the Temple, and when you get there you will see workers toiling away at the exterior of the structure, much like those at the Earth Stone.
There is another NPC there named Frea there who still seemed to have her wits about her. She tried to get through to the entranced workers, but they were oblivious to her efforts.
There were more cultists present like the ones who attempted to assassinate me in the beginning, and like their predecessors, they too tried to kill me once I got towards the center of the exterior portion near the Tree Stone.
The Temple of Miraak
The second quest in the Dragonborn DLC’s main questline, Temple of Miraak, triggers once you enter the center structure, followed by Frea who seems to know a lot more about Miraak. She explains that she is trying to free her people from his grip so that they can return to their lives instead of mindlessly toiling their lives away at the stones. She offers her assistance in finding the entrance to the temple and defeating Miraak.
Once inside the underground temple, Frea and I dodged traps and draugrs until we arrived at the Sanctum.
In the Sanctum I found more draugr and skeletons as I worked my way through the various tunnels and chambers. I found a word wall in one of these chambers, where I learned one of the three words of power for the Dragon Aspect shout. Once I learned the word of power, more draugr burst out of their coffins to attack me along with a higher leveled Gatekeeper.
After Frea and I killed all the attackers, I found the temple key by looting the Gatekeeper’s body.
The key opened a locked door and we continued deeper into the temple. There are more traps such as falling boulders and tripwires. There were of course more draugr and skeletons, including a boss-leveled draugr. Not long after killing the boss-leveled draugr, I found my first Black Book, Waking Dreams.
Now this is where the Dragonborn questline really starts to get interesting and is set apart from the other questlines in the game. When you read the book, you start seeing words in an unknown language swirling in front of you seemingly out of the book itself. Some tentacles reached out of the book and grabbed me, everything went black and my character woke up in a strange realm with green skies, called Apocrypha.
In this experience I was unable to move my character, nor was I able to speak. This is where you first see Miraak, along with a dragon and some seekers standing guard. Miraak notices you, insults you and flies away on his dragon as his seekers send you back to your own realm with magic. If I could pick my own dialogue and had I been able to speak, I would have said “Yo mamaaaaaa” as I was magically transported away. (Insert mod request here)
Once I was back in the temple and explained myself to Frea, she insisted that I visit her father in Skaal Village.
The Fate of Skaal
On the way to Skaal Village, Frea clues you in to the fact that other people are working against their will at the Wind Stone. She informs you of a magical barrier around Skaal Village that protects the people from Miraak’s spell.
When I got to the village, I saw Frea’s father, Storn, among others sitting in a circle, concentrating on maintaining the magical barrier.
When speaking to Storn I learned that the Temple of Miraak had been burned to ashes by dragons intent on killing Miraak. Storn claims they didn’t finish the job and that Miraak fled, and is looking to return through the enslavement of his people.
He then sent me to Saering’s Watch, a dragon lair north of Skaal Village to learn a word of power for the Bend Will shout.
On the way to this lair, I was attacked by two frost trolls, three warebears and two wolves- all at once. As a low-level player, I definitely had to work to get to where I was going.
Once I reached Saering’s Watch, I was encountered by a snow bear and more draugr. I killed the dragon there and absorbed its soul to unlock the word of power learned for the Bend Will Shout.
I was prompted to use my newly-learned shout on the Wind Stone once it was unlocked. I fast traveled back to Skaal Village and took a short walk to the Wind Stone located nearby.
When I used the Bend Will shout on the stone, the NPCs there broke free from their trances and a lurker rose from the thick dark liquid that surrounds the stone. The lurker was no easy task to beat, but I was rewarded by seeing that the Skaal had lifted the magical barrier around their village and had gone back to their daily routines by the time I returned.
Storn then asks you to cleanse the rest of the stones and advises you to visit Neloth in Tel Mithryn to inquire about the location of another Black Book.
Cleansing the Stones
This was a relatively simple quest to complete, aside from all of the lurkers and occasional reiklings I had to smash in order to get the job done.
Just like the Wind Stone, I was prompted to use my Bend Will shout on the Earth Stone, Beast Stone, Sun Stone and Water Stone. Each stone had lurkers, each one cleansed would set another group of NPCs free from their enslavement to Miraak.
Next Week: The Path of Knowledge, The Gardener of Men and At the Summit of Apocrypha.
Come back next Wednesday to read the rest of my experience with Skyrim Special Edition’s Dragonborn DLC.
How did you like the first half of the Dragonborn DLC’s main questline? Send me an e-mail and I may include your feedback in an upcoming article.
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