One thing I love about Skyrim is the sheer amount of richness and depth that lurks around every corner. The Dragonborn can take a short dander around any part of the map and, before long, is confronted by an NPC with a backstory that could warm the heart of the scariest Daedric prince.
I love how the developers let the player stumble upon certain quests as they journey through the map, never forcing you into the path of quest givers.
It is because of this open-world game design that many people have completed Skyrim several times over without stumbling upon certain quests, always leaving them more to come back to.
For me, one of these quests was The Blessings of Nature. This quest, while located in a location that I must have lumbered through thousands of times over the years, simply went under my nose until I got bored one day, took a look around, and finally found it.
As I am sure many of you may be in the same boat as me, I thought it was high time that this lovely little side quest got the attention it deserves with a dedicated guide. So, with this in mind, let’s take a short walkthrough of the quest in this Elder Scrolls Skyrim The Blessing of Nature Guide.
A Quick Breakdown
- Recommended Level: Level 8 or above
- Quest Giver and Location: Danica Pure-Spring in Whiterun. Usually found at the foot of Dragonsreach’s steps.
- Rewards: Nettlebane and Master level Restoration Training
In The Beginning
Most of the time, when I haven’t found and completed a quest before, the starting point is usually hidden away in some dark alley, side street, or spider-infested cave.
However, in this instance, I had been running through the streets of Whiterun since 2011 without once stopping to smell the roses in the central courtyard. You know, the one located in the middle of the town with the big tree, branching off the Dragonreach and the Companions hall.
This is where the player will find Danica Pure-Spring, a Nord priestess of Kynareth and healer who can often be found sitting on a bench beneath the aforementioned tree. When you start off dialogue with Danica, she will tell you that the tree she sits beneath is known as the Gildegreen tree, a holy object to the disciples of Kynareth.
She then goes on to speak about how her fellow disciples have abandoned the tree as of late as the Gildegreen has started to die. Therefore, in order to save the tree, she speaks of its parent tree, the Eldergleam.
According to Danica, sap from the parent tree will be able to revive the child. The only catch is to tap this tree; you will need a very specific metal dagger called Nettlebane.
As mentioned, the first step in this quest is acquiring Nettlebane, a dagger previously by Spriggan for sacrificial rituals and the only tool capable of marking a tree older than almost any metal found in Nirn today.
To get this ancient dagger, the player must travel to a den of Hagravens in a place called Orphans Rock. This nest of witches can be found in the Southern part of Skyrim, directly at the base of the throat of the world and North of Helgan.
Once you arrive at the location, you will need to head up and face off against four powerful witches that live there under the command of a Hagraven. The player can choose to either enter the camp and fight all of the inhabitants at once or pick them off from a nearby Stormcloak encampment, using the high ground there to their advantage.
When you manage to defeat the Hagraven, Nettlebane will be nearby, allowing you to leave and get the ancient weapon back to Danica swiftly.
Back to Danica
Once the player character gets their hands on this very special dagger, they must return to Danica in Whiterun. She will either be under the same tree you left her at or in the nearby temple.
Understandably, as a priestess of Kynareth and someone who considers these trees as pieces of divinity, she refuses even to touch Nettlebane when the player delivers it. The idea of the dagger alone is enough to twist up her face.
Therefore, she once again turns to the player and asks the Dragonborn to do one last favor for the Gildegreen tree. At this point, Danica turns the player’s attention toward the Eldegreen Sanctuary, a location in Eastmarch, Southwest of Windhelm.
However, before the player manages to get out of the city, they will be stopped by another disciple of Kynareth, a pilgrim named Maurice Jondrelle. He will ask and possibly beg the player to take him along as he, too, would like to visit the mythical parent tree.
The player can either bring Maurice or leave him behind; however, if you leave him behind, you will limit some of your possible choices later in the quest.
The Eldergleam Tree
Once you arrive at the Eldergleam sanctuary, the player will meet two Nords who have been worshiping the tree for some time, Asta and Sond. While a short dialogue can be had with both regarding the tree and your purpose there, they can be wholly ignored if desired.
Now that you have reached the tree, the player must find a way to access a location wherein its sap can be extracted. Immediately, my first instinct was to slash at the roots that blocked my path. However, if you are a smarter and more respectful Dragonborn, you may recognize this as quite a disrespectful thing to do to a tree with deep religious and spiritual significance to many.
Sap or Sapling?
As all great games should at every opportunity, Skyrim gives you a choice here. Should you have brought Maurice with you, as I suggested earlier, the player will have two options—one for the ‘Good’ Dragonborn amongst you and another for the cooler, hack-and-slash type.
The Good Choice
If the player is set on being the best possible person they can be throughout their playthrough, listen to what Maurice has to say when you begin slashing at the sacred tree. He will beseech the player to stop and allow him to pray to the tree for help.
While this may seem pointless, you should humor Maurice just long enough for him to pray. As he does, the tree seemingly listens and bestows upon him a sapling. This will be enough to bring back to Danica, with no sacred tree being harmed in the process.
The Bad Choice
If you do not care about what Maurice says or his silly little protests to protect a seemingly normal tree, just keep slashing at the roots with Nettlebane and ignore his shouts. Eventually, the player will break their way through the roots and encounter some enraged Spriggans.
After dispatching these enemies, simply collect the sap using Nettlebane and return to Danica like the horrid little warrior you are.
In most games, when a player chooses to take the good or evil path through a quest, there is some form of consequence.
Despite this rather simple rule of game design, it seems like Skyrim’s writers decided they couldn’t really be bothered to input some moral or ethical judgment for your actions in this quest. Therefore, it actually doesn’t matter which choice you go with.
Danica will be equally happy with sap or sapling, rewarding the player with the exact same level of prize regardless of how many ancient and sacred trees you chopped up along the way.
Sweet Sweet Rewards
- A Generous amount of XP upon completion.
- Master-level Restoration training.
Question: Can You Get the Eldergleam Sap without Injuring the Tree?
Answer: The player can bring Maurice Jondrelle along with them on this adventure. With him in your stride, he will protest the idea of the player attacking the tree roots to get at the sap-collecting portion of the tree. He will insist on praying to the tree, and in return, you will be given a sapling which will do the same job as the sap for Danica.
Question: Why does Everyone Exclaim, “By the Eight,” in Skyrim while they Always Praise the Nine Divines in the other Games?
Answer: With the advent of the White Gold Concordat, the Aldmeri Dominion and their Thalmor Empire have moved in on the Empire and their culture, making certain changes. The Thalmor have always wanted to rid the Empire of Talos worship as a means of dividing the imperial colonies and weakening their overall strength.
Therefore, if a regular civilian were to make reference to the “Nine Divines” in a positive or reverential manner, they would most likely be arrested by a Thalmor agent or face other more serious consequences.
Question: Is there Anything of Worth in Eldergleam Sanctuary?
Answer: Apart from the Eldergleam Tree and the obvious religious significance of it, there really isn’t that much within this location for the player character to steal or loot. However, if you do fancy yourself as a budding alchemist, the location is filled with plants and insects that could help with your next potion after a little harvesting excursion.
Elder Scrolls Skyrim The Blessing of Nature Guide: Conclusion
One of the best things about Skyrim is the many little side quests that are dotted throughout the map.
These little missions are often simplistic and boring to do; however, if you pay attention to the little pieces of backstory and lore that are often dropped throughout the quest dialogue, you can learn a great deal about the world around you and the factions that populate the world.
This is exactly what this quest is to me; there is nothing overall exciting or revolutionary being done here, but the amount of lore and backstory we get is worth the squeeze.
If you are the type to simply blow past this kind of stuff, I truly hope that this guide has helped fill in a little Kynareth backstory for you, improving your overall experience.
With all this being said, I wish you luck with the Spriggans and Hagravens and hope to see you again sometime soon.