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Skyrim:The Final Descent

< Skyrim: Quests: Side Quests
Find out what happened to the great-grandfather of Crescius Caerellius.
Quest Giver: Crescius Caerellius
Location(s): Raven Rock Mine, Bloodskal Barrow
Concurrent Quest: Black Book: The Winds of Change
Reward: Leveled Gold,
Bloodskal Blade,
Word for the Dragon Aspect shout
Suggested Level: 30
The puzzle of Bloodskal Barrow

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Speak to Crescius Caerellius.
  2. Find out what the East Empire Company sealed away.
  3. Retrieve Gratian Caerellius's journal.
  4. Escape Bloodskal Barrow.
  5. Return to Crescius Caerellius.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit


Once a prosperous East Empire Company mining outpost, Raven Rock's plummet has been a striking one. Now a House Redoran colony, the settlement is virtually forgotten by all except its handful of bleak residents—most of whom lost their jobs when the local mine was depleted.

You'll hear the gloomy residents talking about their frustrations openly, and this mood persists even after freeing the citizens slaving for Miraak during Cleansing the Stones. Councilor Lleril Morvayn will put words on the problem: "It used to be one of the richest ebony mines in Morrowind, but it dried out years ago. Now, we're barely holding on out here. Without the mine, Raven Rock doesn't feel like it can last much longer."

The ConspiracyEdit

80-year-old ex-miner Crescius Caerellius is in agreement with Councilor Morvayn's observations, although he suspects the closing of the mine to be caused by more than just lack of ebony ore. When you visit Raven Rock Mine, you will find the aging miner in heavy discussion with his concerned wife Aphia:

"Damn it, woman! I said to leave me be!"

Crescius: "Damn it, woman! I said to leave me be!"
Aphia: "Crescius, last time you explored the mine you almost fell to your death. I'm not spending the rest of my days as a widow!"
Crescius: "And I'm telling you that I'll do whatever it takes to find my great-grandfather's remains. He's down here, I can feel it."
Aphia: "That was almost two centuries ago. There may be nothing left to find."
Crescius: "Just let me go, woman!"
Aphia: "Crescius, you're an obstinate old fool and you're going to get yourself killed."

After the discussion, ask either of them about what they were arguing about, although Crescius will be the one to start the quest. All three available options will lead him to say, "But mark my words, these mines hold a secret that could put Raven Rock back on the map." When asked to elaborate he reveals his conspiracy theory: "A secret the East Empire Company swept under the rug two centuries ago. It killed my great-grandfather, and left Raven Rock with a worthless and tainted mine." He will then tell you about his great-grandfather Gratian Caerellius, who used to be an explorer for the East Empire Company. He died in Raven Rock Mine almost 200 years ago, due to a 'rockfall' according to the company, but Crescius claims to know better. As it turns out, he recently found some of Gratian's old stuff, including a key and an unsent letter to the company, concerning a strange discovery inside the mine. After Gratian supposedly died from the rockfall, the company locked off a certain section of the mine in the process of drying it out. Crescius is therefore convinced that the company keeps something hidden in the depths and will hand you the key to what he believes is the forbidden section of the mine, along with the letter sent to his great-grandfather by the East Empire Company. During his trek through the mine, Gratian kept a detailed journal and you will soon find that you are following in his footsteps:

"Received a letter from the East Empire Company today. They say that some of the miners broke through the wall in shaft three of Raven Rock Mine and found some ruins."

Into the DepthsEdit

What's behind the door?

Make your way down the narrow ladder into the mine. The fall in the center of the room is a long one, so take great care to stay on the path. Make your way slowly down to the first huge ledge and fight a frostbite spider and a skeever. From the ledge, two paths are available. The tunnel leads to a dead end with yet another angry spider, so proceed down the woodworks and find the tunnel to the northwest, past several crates and barrels with the East Empire Company logo, as well as some flammable gas and more spiders. Knock down the wood planks blocking the path and claim the contents of the East Empire Company strongbox near the iron gate.

Unlock the gate with the key and proceed forward to discover what the East Empire Company tried to hide, namely a crypt full of draugr; three of them will awaken from their slumber and attack. Proceed forward, avoiding the spike wall trap on the way, and deal with the numerous leveled draugr in the next chamber. Make sure to prepare yourself before entering the room with the metal grate floor, as there are eight draugr seated on thrones around the walls of this room, at least five of which are still active. If your Lockpicking skills are good, unlock the master-level lock on the boss chest in one of the alcoves, then proceed through the iron door to the west. You will arrive in a chamber with two draugr resting on thrones, an alchemy lab, a stalhrim deposit, and several ingredients scattered around. Between the two thrones there you will find a potion of waterwalking - the first of four in the entire game which can be found solely within this mine. Use caution as you approach the northern tunnel, as there are two spellcaster traps at the top of the incline which will shoot lightning bolts at you. Finally, open the iron door at the end.

"Looks like the miners broke right through the wall of an old Nordic barrow. I've seen this sort of thing in Skyrim before... damn Nords have barrows dotting the landscape and almost none of them are ever marked on any maps."

Walk of the DeadEdit

The next chamber is huge and in multiple levels. Prepare for another hard fight against several draugr enemies, including two deathlords that you will have to fight while another draugr shoots arrows at you from afar. Note that these two are always deathlords carrying ebony weapons, regardless of your level. Keep an eye on your health at all times and proceed forward carefully while taking care of the first deathlord, then rush up the slopes to the overhanging bridge and dispose of the next one and the archer. At this point, you can backtrack to the bottom of the room and find a locked entrance behind the waterfall leading to a small section of the upcoming area Bloodskal Barrow, which contains another deposit of stalhrim. Return to the bridge in the previous zone and unlock the chest underneath the arcane enchanter for some minor loot. The second potion of waterwalking is on the floor just to the right of the chest. When you are finished, activate the handle adjacent to the enchanter. This raises the iron gate to the south. Take a left for a copy of the spell tome for Ice Spike and look above it for a spell trap soul gem and knock it down before going to the woodworks to the west, there is a locked chest with minor loot behind the stairs at the base, walk around the pillar to find it. Then proceed up the woodworks to the west. At the top you will face the spellcaster trap if you didn't knock the off its pedestal in the Ice Spike Tome room. Directly behind the pedestal is a hidden room with some minor loot with a chain to open it to the left behind webs. Make your way to another bridge, a long way above the waterfall, and watch out for several dart trap-triggering pressure plates on the other side. The locked chest to the north only contains minor loot. Locate the narrow passageway next to the pressure plate and follow it as it twists and turns, then uncover the second huge secret of the mine:

"It's been an astonishing day of discovery! After exploring the large chamber beyond the dropoff, I was startled to find the strangest weapon I've ever laid eyes upon sitting on a pedestal of sorts. The blade appears to be flawless, and is emitting a faint chilling glow."

Gratian CaerelliusEdit

"I'm afraid this tomb will become my resting place."

A huge chamber opens before you with two waterfalls leading into a stream that disappears underground. Jump down carefully from ledge to ledge to avoid too great a fall. The area has several dead draugr and at the end of the stream where it disappears underground is a minor chest.

The skeletal remains of Millius lie at the foot of the stairs leading to the huge round door with strange carvings, and the remains of Gratian Caerellius lie in a pool of blood closer to the round door, seemingly ripped apart postmortem. Examine the bones and you will find Gratian's Journal with its in-depth description of the failed expedition and how they were ultimately attacked by draugr, along with the unique, valuable Bloodskal Blade, which releases energy blasts when using power attacks. Claim his journal and sword, as both are necessary for the quest to advance. Read through the journal for Gratian's 200-year-old theories on how to solve the puzzle:

"I'm fairly certain that the key to the door involves the use of the Bloodskal Blade. When swinging the weapon, I'm noticing a ribbon of mystical energy emanating from it. I think by swinging the sword in different directions, it's possible to manipulate this ribbon and solve whatever puzzle this door presents."

Solving the PuzzleEdit

Stand at a distance facing the door. You will see a bright red horizontal line on either side of the door that seems to be pulsating. Choose one of the lines. Line your cross-hairs up directly with the pulsating red line. Begin moving to the left or right in line with the bright red light and hold in the trigger in order to do a horizontal power attack and send a blast of energy at the line. (This will not work if you are sneaking). A section of the wall around the door will recede back into the archway and a new section will take its place, revealing a new pulsating red line, this time a vertical one. Line your cross-hairs up and, remaining stationary, send a vertical power attack at it. Once you've activated all the lines around the archway as they appear (the order doesn't matter), a final vertical gash will appear illuminated down the center of the door. Unfortunately, the wounded Gratian never mustered the strength to solve the puzzle and the last entry of his journal reads:

"I've lost track of time and my strength is fading. I can't even stand anymore. My wounds refuse to heal. I'm afraid this tomb will become my resting place. If anyone finds this journal, please send these notes to my superiors at the East Empire Company and tell my wife that I love her."


The door opens into a hall riddled with swinging blade traps. At the end of the hall is a lever that opens the gate in front of you, revealing yet another large chamber. The blades are proximity triggered, so if your follower isn't essential they will likely be killed passing through, as there is no way to disable the traps. This one is partially flooded and with a tempting chest on a ledge. As you move eastward in the room, whether on the chest ledge or along the edges of the water, the dragon priest Zahkriisos will emerge from the middle of the pond about halfway between the chest and the word wall at the eastern end of the room. He will immediately attack you. In addition to being able to conjure Seekers from Apocrypha, Zahkriisos excels at lightning-based magic, so much so that at a high enough level, he can dual-cast Lightning Storm—a master-level spell—along with Thunderbolt. He also knows the spells Greater Ward and Ebonyflesh. Pick the fight with the strong boss and, when all is said and done, claim his mask and a boss-leveled amount of gold. Then turn your attention to the word wall at the east end of the room, which teaches you a word for the Dragon Aspect shout. Turn around and locate the newly revealed chamber to the right of the entrance. Within you will find a boss-leveled chest and the Black Book, The Winds of Change, upon a pedestal. By reading it you will enter Apocrypha and begin its associated quest.

(You do not have to defeat Zakriisos to escape the mine. He can be avoided completely by heading directly left after entering the word wall chamber and turning left into the Black Book room. You will not be able to approach the word wall without triggering his emergence, but if you have a high Sneak skill there is a chance he will not detect you. Reading the Black Book is also not required to escape, and it will be there if you return later.)

Escape Bloodskal BarrowEdit

Behind the Black Book is a wooden spiral ramp leading up to a door which takes you right into Bloodskal Barrow, a small lair inhabited by reavers. Head through the first tunnel and activate the chain to make the rock wall disappear, then sneak into the room. One reaver may be using the alchemy lab in the opposite corner and the boss will be watching the cooking pot in the center, giving you the opportunity for a sneak attack. Dispose of them all and make sure to locate the chest near the beds in the northwestern area, along with the rare book Deathbrand which adds a map marker for Haknir's Shoal at level 36 or higher. A crypt lies to the west and is guarded by another reaver, so defeat him and make your way through the spooky surroundings until you finally reach a door leading out to a mountaintop in Solstheim, a long way north of the original mine entrance back in Raven Rock.

A New BeginningEdit

"I've been made the foreman of the mine thanks to everything you did down there."

Dispose of the many reavers outside the Bloodskal Barrow entrance and search the area for treasure. Travel back to Raven Rock and find old Crescius Caerellius, who has left the mine and picked up his old routine again. When you tell him that he was right all along and hand him his great-grandfather's journal, he will be overwhelmed with joy: "Let me see that! Ha, I knew it! Gratian's death wasn't because of a rockfall, it was just a story to keep people away from the tombs. Now that I have his journal in hand, I can get some closure from the East Empire Company. Make them pay for lying to everyone." When you wish him the best of luck he will say: "Thank you. Now, I believe I owe you a little more than a debt of gratitude for all that work you did. Here... it's not much, but it's the best an old, retired miner can do." He will then hand you a small amount of leveled gold as reward.

After the quest is finished, Raven Rock will improve remarkably and start flourishing again as a mining town. Several people will start working the mine on a daily basis, Crescius included as the new foreman, and the mine itself will see four new inhabitants working there around the clock. A few new sections of the mine will also open up and you can now mine for ebony. Lastly, even Councilor Lleril Morvayn will be grateful and name you a citizen of Raven Rock with: "Your contributions have earned you citizenship here, friend. I'll always consider you one of us." When asked about what the reopening of the mine means to Raven Rock, he will say the following: "With the mines open, Raven Rock has become a significant colony of the Dunmer people again. I've been able to convince my superiors at House Redoran to send me the resources they've been denying now that we're deemed more important. Soon, we'll have a steady supply of workers and materials to keep things going for years to come."

Additionally, almost the entire population of Raven Rock will comment on the reopened mine and the many benefits:

Name Reply
Adril Arano "You might think it's all perfume and roses now that the mine's open, but all I see is a new security problem on our hands. Making sure those shipments of ebony make it safely from the mine to the shipping docks is my new order of the day. And with Solstheim crawling with reavers and Azura-knows what else, I can't risk any attacks on Raven Rock."
Bralsa Drel "Couldn't be better. The sections that are being opened up have revealed some huge deposits of ebony. Old Crescius has a nose for exactly where to dig. If they'd only listened to him years ago, the town wouldn't have been in such dire straits. At this rate, I'll be able to put a roof over my head in just a few months."
Captain Veleth "I've had to muster some more men to protect the mine, but I don't really have a problem with that. Second Councilor Arano is concerned that once word reaches the reavers that the mine has reopened, they might think about paying us a visit. I say let them try. My men are ready for them."
Crescius Caerellius "I've been made the foreman of the mine thanks to everything you did down there. It's good to get the old nose working again. I missed sniffing out the ebony deposits and getting my hands dirty. Best of all, Aphia isn't so cross when I go down there any more!"
Fethis Alor "Things are picking up... for now. All I'm wondering is how long it'll take for House Redoran to begin ignoring us again if the mine runs out of ore for a second time."
Geldis Sadri "How do you think? It's a blessing. I've got regular paying customers again, thirsty workers at the end of the day, and more coin than I can count."
Glover Mallory "I've always had a steady stream of work thanks to the Redoran Guard, so it hasn't affected me much. However, I've seen the smile on people's faces and there's hope around here once again... something we've been lacking for a long time."
Lleril Morvayn "With the mines open, Raven Rock has become a significant colony of the Dunmer people again. I've been able to convince my superiors at House Redoran to send me the resources they've been denying now that we're deemed more important. Soon, we'll have a steady supply of workers and materials to keep things going for years to come."
Rirns Llervu "Bralsa's been nice enough to show me how to swing a pickaxe. She's an old hat when it comes to digging up ebony. I may not be an expert at it yet, but it's good to be back to work and have some coin in my pockets."


  • The quest won't begin if you enter the mine from the Bloodskal Barrow side. Go to the Raven Rock side.


  • The Bloodskal Blade may not be able to emit the ribbons of energy, which will prevent the player from advancing the quest. This appears to happen if the player enters the mine (or possibly just enters Solstheim and gets close enough to the mine entrance), then leaves for 30 days, which causes the mine to reset and the Blade to be replaced by a non-functional copy.
    • The Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch, version 4.1.7, fixes this bug. (details)
      •   USSEP fix is not retroactive, and will not help savegames in which the bug had already occurred.
    •   Once this has occurred, there is no way to fix the blade itself. In order to open the door anyway, you can use console commands to equip the spells directly to your hands:
      player.equipspell xx01AEAE left for the horizontal version
      player.equipspell xx033A27 left for the vertical version
      Where xx is the load order dependent part of the Form ID.
    •   You may also be able to use the console command player.setav rightitemcharge 99999 while the blade is equipped to fix this.[verification needed — does not work]
  • Millius' remains may not appear.
    •   There is a waterfall in a room and a hidden room behind the waterfall. The corpse vanishing bug will not occur if you do not enter the room.
  • Bloodskal Blade may not appear. ?
  • Townsfolk may disappear after quest completion. ?
  • The passage with planks may render the planks still present if the mine is left and Dragonborn is unable to pass again. * Shoot with ice spikes to knock them down again.
  • The Dragon Priest at the end may not attack and only strafe around the player and followers. This makes the "battle" much easier.
  • Arrows that hit the planks in the mine may not knock them down; instead they become lodged in place and attacking them with a melee weapon does not hit the affected boards loose. ?

Quest StagesEdit

The Final Descent (DLC2RR03)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
15 I've stumbled across Crescius Caerellius inside of Raven Rock Mine. He's convinced that the mines of Raven Rock contain a secret important enough for him to risk his own life to discover. He appears to have more to tell, so I should listen to what he has to say if I want to learn more.
Objective 5: Speak to Crescius Caerellius
20 I've stumbled across Crescius Caerellius inside of Raven Rock Mine. He's convinced that the remains of his great-grandfather, Gratian Caerellius, are at the bottom of the mine and that the East Empire Company has falsely designated his ancestor's death as an accident. He's tasked me with exploring the mine on his behalf to locate the remains, and perhaps discovering what killed Gratian Caerellius.
Objective 10: Retrieve Gratian Caerellius's Journal
30 I've located the skeletal remains of Gratian Caerellius. In his satchel, I've discovered an old journal. In order to return it to Crescius, I'll have to discover a way to escape Bloodskal Barrow.
Objective 30: Escape Bloodskal Barrow
Objective 20: (Optional) Read Gratian Caerellius's Journal
50 After locating the remains of Gratian Caerellius, recovering his journal and escaping Bloodskal Barrow, I should bring the evidence of my discovery to Crescius Caerellius.
Objective 40: Return to Crescius Caerellius
200 Finishes quest  I've located Gratian Caerellius's remains and uncovered the truth regarding his untimely death deep inside Bloodskal Barrow.
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 10, 25, 40.

The Final Descent (DLC2RR03Priest)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
Objective 10: Slay the Seeker in Bloodskal Barrow
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 200.
  • 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 DLC2RR03 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 DLC2RR03.