Main Quest: Bloodline
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You'll trigger this quest when you meet Serana in Dimhollow Cavern at the end of the quest Awakening.


Serana will reveal that she's a vampire, and she'll ask you to take her to Volkihar Keep, her ancestral home, which is located on an island to the west of Solitude. Serana will then join you as a companion, even if you already have a companion, and she'll remain by your side for most of the remainder of the DLC. Serana can't be killed, but she won't trade items with you.

To exit Dimhollow Cavern, you'll need to exit the puzzle platform to the northeast and then follow the roughly linear path to the cavern exit. Along the way you'll face off against gargoyles (which will drop gems and ore when they die) and draugr. You'll also come across a Word Wall that will unlock the Word of Power for "Stamina, Drain Vitality" when you get close enough to it.

To reach Volkihar Keep, you'll first need to travel to Icewater Jetty, which is located in the northwestern corner of Skyrim. If you don't have a fast travel point nearby, and if you don't want to walk there, then you can use a ferry to make the trip. You'll find ferrymen in three cities: Gort in Windhelm (at the docks outside the city), Harlaug in Dawnstar (at the northern end of the inlet), and Jolf in Solitude (at the docks to the south of the city). Each ferryman will charge you 500 gold to travel to the jetty.

At Icewater Jetty, you'll find a small boat. Activating it will take you to the island with Volkihar Keep. Inside the keep, you'll meet Harkon, Serana's father. He'll thank you for bringing back his daughter, and he'll offer you the best reward at his disposal -- some of his blood, which will transform you into a vampire lord. You'll then have to choose between joining the vampires or staying with the Dawnguard:
  • If you join the vampires, then you'll gain the Vampire Lord power, which will allow you to transform into a vampire lord and attack enemies using drain life or your claws. The more enemies you kill while in this form, the more vampire perks you'll earn, and the more powerful you'll become.

  • If you stay with the Dawnguard, then you'll learn how to craft four different types of Crossbows and eight different types of Bolts, and you'll still get an opportunity to learn the vampire lord form later.
The Dawnguard campaign will remain largely the same regardless of the side you pick, so feel free to choose the reward that you like best. If you choose the vampires, then Harkon will give you a tutorial about the vampire lord form before assigning you your next quest (The Bloodstone Chalice). If you choose the Dawnguard, then Harkon will banish you from the keep, and you'll have to return to Isran at Fort Dawnguard to receive your next quest (A New Order).

Note: If you're a vampire or a werewolf when you arrive at Volkihar Keep, then Harkon will cure you before making you a vampire lord.

Note: Vampire powers are automatically assigned to your favorites list, so when you want to switch from your vampire lord form to your regular form, you'll just need to open your favorites list and choose Revert Form, and then activate the power (by pressing Z on the PC).