Discerning the Transmundane

In Brief

  1. Find the Elder Scroll.
  2. Fill the Lexicon.
  3. Give the Lexicon to Septimus Signus.
  4. Harvest Orc blood.
  5. Harvest High Elf blood.
  6. Harvest Falmer Blood.
  7. Harvest Wood Elf blood.
  8. Harvest Dark Elf blood.
  9. Give the collected blood samples to Septimus Signus.
  10. Retrieve the book from within the Cube.
  11. Decide whether or not to become Hermaeus Mora’s emissary.


Far north of Winterhold, the player can find a small cave called Septimus Signus’s Outpost. Inside, a strange Dwemer cube is being studied by Septimus Signus. He claims the “heart of a God”, “heart of you and me”, is located inside.

He asks the player to help him see through the cube. To do so, he plans to use the power of an Elder Scroll. However, he does not possess the knowledge on how to use the Elder Scroll. To help him, the player must travel to the Dwemer ruin Alftand and charge the Lexicon.

Be prepared, for Alftand is an extensive Dwemer ruin housing Falmer in addition to several Dwemer constructs, including Centurions. The player needs to reach Blackreach, an underground cave under Alftand. Once there travel through the cave following the destination marker on your small map of the ruin until you reach Blackreach. Follow the marker through Blackreach. When you reach your destination, there should be a somewhat huge gold structure in the middle of a room. Go up the spiral stairs in this room. At the top of the stairs is a Dwemer puzzle with a stand with a slot for your Lexicon. Put the Lexicon inside the stand. To decipher the code, press the second button from the right until the Lexicon opens and the third button lights up. Press the third button until you see the overhead lenses directing light onto the sphere, and the fourth button lights up. Press the last button and retrieve the scroll. When the puzzle has been completed, retrieve the Elder Scroll. Don`t forget to grab the Lexicon. Once you have both the Elder Scroll and the Lexicon, return to Septimus Signus at his outpost.

Once you have returned to Septimus Signus outpost, talk to Septimus, again. He’ll read the Lexicon and tell you he searched for it by the help of the Daedric Prince of knowledge, Hermaeus Mora. He tells you to go harvest some blood of all elves, including Orcs. Head for the outside of the cave. You will see a Wretched Abyss that has the talk option. Talk to the abyss, and you will eventually learn that the voice coming out of the the abyss is the voice of Hermaeus Mora. He claims that Septimus is a good follower, but his mind has corrupted and has thus outlived his usefulness. He wishes for you to speak with him after you complete Septimus’s task.

The blood samples of Bosmer, Orsimer, Altmer, and Falmer can be retreived from the permanent corpses of Sulla Trebatius’ expedition to Alftand. This is especially convenient if the monsters there have not yet respawned from the player’s first pass through (which is likely if the player is following this walkthrough). Entering through the Alftand Glacial Ruins and avoiding the elevator to the Animonculory, first visit the corpse of Endrast the Wood Elf, hidden in the lower half of the first room in the Animonculory. Proceed into the large, vertical room full of spiral ramps and jump down to the corpse of Yag gra-Gortwog the Orc. Continuing downwards to the room with an elevator to Alftand Glacial Ruins, find the corpse of Valie the High Elf laying on a torture table and a permanent Falmer corpse nearby. Note on Valie – When you are doing the lexicon quest, be sure to take the elevator to the ruins and hit the lever to open the bars from the middle of the Alftand Glacial Ruins (by the table with the Spider parts and a Book on Dwarves vol. 2) and the elevator to the Animonculory (which brings you right to Valie’s corpse). It will save you from having to walk through half of the dungeon to get the High Elf blood for the next phase of the quest.

Dunmer corpses can reliably be found in many locations:

  • Bandits, found in camps, caves, shipwrecks, and many other places have a chance to be Dark Elves (or any other race).
  • Bodies of all types except High Elf can be found in Liar’s Retreat, SSW of Dragon Bridge (North of Broken Tower Redoubt, West of Chillwind Depths). When considering Liar’s Retreat, be advised that there is a chance there will be a large number of bandits and Falmer fighting each other within. The player should be very well prepared for battle prior to entry.
  • High Elf corpse can be found in Pinewatch Bandit Sanctuary, an underground cave (The entrance is hidden behind a swinging bookcase). upon entering the first cavern of the Sanctuary, a High Elf corpse can be found to the left of the first platform.
  • There is a Novice Conjurer killed by trolls in the west-most room of Bleakcoast Cave, located south of the Serpent Stone and east-southeast of Winterhold.
  • In the cave visited during the quest Diplomatic Immunity is another Dark Elf killed by trolls.
  • Or you can go to the Thalmor Embassy and kill a justicar.

Upon acquiring different blood samples you will be prompted to return to Septimus Signus’s Outpost. Give the blood samples to Septimus and wait for him to open the cube. Following him inside will reveal that it was not the “Heart of a God” that was stored inside the cube, but rather a book. With Septimus’s usefulness to Hermaeus Mora outlived, he is promptly disposed of in a flash of light.

The book on a pedestal is the Oghma Infinium, and through conversation with the Daedric prince, the player learns that it was sealed here for a reason—so no more of its dangerous knowledge could be shared with the world of mortals. Something Hermaeus Mora wished undone.

This completes the quest. But the player still can read the book and receive some of the knowledge hidden within. Specifically, the player can choose between three different paths – magic, shadow or might. Depending on the choice, the player will receive +5 permanent points in the following skills:

  • Magic: Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Restoration, Enchanting
  • Might: Archery, Heavy Armor, One-handed Weapons, Smithing, Two-handed Weapons, Block
  • Shadow: Alchemy, Light Armor, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Speech, Sneak

The book will disappear after it is read.