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Side Quests appear in your journal as titled events.  Though they require more time and effort to complete, greater rewards are usually earned.  Finding a key item or entering a particular dungeon triggers some Side Quests, but most are initiated by talking to people in cities and towns.  The list below is sorted alphabetically by the name of the Side Quest:

A   R E T U R N   T O   Y O U R   R O O T S  

To get this quest, you need access to BLACKREACH.  Refer to the Daedric quest “Discerning the Transmudane” or the main quest, “Elder Knowledge” to learn what needs to be done to access the vast underground city.

Once inside Blackreach, make your way down to Sinderion’s Field Laboratory in the northeast corner.  Inside, you’ll find the alchemist’s body along with his journal.  Reading Sinderion’s Journal triggers the quest “A Return to Your Roots”.  Your current objective is to collect thirty CRIMSON NIRNROOTS.  The rare plant only grows in Blackreach so you’ll have to scour the landscape to find them.  Start by taking one off of Sinderion’s worktable then explore the lab for other goodies.  Along with a wide array of ingredients, you’ll find two chests and the Alchemy SKILLBOOK, “De Rerum Dirennis”.

When ready, leave Sinderion’s Field Lab and gather the remaining Crimson Nirnroots.  Like regular nirnroots, the Crimson version emits a chime sound and glows.  Given how enormous Blackreach is, expect to spend a great deal of time foraging while paying close attention to your surroundings.  There are throngs of tough enemies down here – if any of them give you trouble, leave Blackreach and return after leveling up a bit.  The plants respawn every 3 or 4 days.

Once you’ve collected 30 Crimson Nirnroots, your journal tells you to bring them to Avrusa Sarethi, the owner of SARETHI FARM.  To reach the farm, head east from Ivarstead.  Talk to Avrusa during the day when she’s tending to her garden to learn that she was once a student of Sinderion’s.  Tell her you found Sinderion and offer her the Crimson Nirnroots.  Your hard work is rewarded with a special tome and a permanent Active Effect called SINDERION’S SERENDIPITY, which gives you a 25% chance of creating a duplicate potion while using your Alchemy skill.

A   S C R O L L   F O R   A N S K A  

To get this quest, travel to HIGH GATE RUINS, which is east of Dawnstar and just north of Ustengrav.  When you enter the ruins, a fire mage named Anska will be there.  Agree to help Anska retrieve a family scroll from the tomb of Dragon Priest Vokun to start the quest.  You can ask her to follow you or have her wait here.  If Anska becomes your follower, you must protect her as you traverse the ruins. 

Either way, enter the next room and kill the Draugrs inside.  Look for a chest near the far wall before going upstairs.  Heading left around the walkway brings you to a skeleton.  Read the Destruction SKILLBOOK, “A Hypothetical Treachery” next to it, then explore the right side of the walkway to find a chest.  Continue through the iron door.  Defeat the Draugr inside and take advantage of the arcane enchanter if you wish.  Watch out for a spiked wall trap as you enter the next corridor. 

Proceed into a tiered room containing a floor grate and pedestals with levers.  Each pedestal shows a picture of an animal.  To solve the puzzle, you need to pull four levers in a certain order.  Stand in the middle of the room and look up.  On the southern ceiling you’ll see four rock carvings.  From left to right, they are: HAWK / WHALE / FOX / SNAKE.  Pull the levers with matching pictures in that order (two on the lower floor and two on the upper floor).  Note that there are two Hawk pedestals – activate either one.  When set correctly, the floor grate swings open.  Descend the spiral staircase and enter High Gate Ruins Catacombs.

Fight Draugr as they awaken and watch out for floor traps as you head down the hallway.  Past the altar is a trapped chest.  Open it from the side to avoid getting spiked.  An iron door leads to a small room with a soul gem perched on a pedestal.  Grabbing it causes Draugrs to emerge from their sarcophagi.  Unlock the side door to access a chest then continue down a long corridor with more pressure plate traps.  Enter the double doors at the end.

You arrive in a room with a sealed gate and lever.  Pulling it releases a powerful Draugr from its wall tomb, but also reveals a second lever.  Pull the second lever and defeat another leveled Draugr to access the third lever, which opens the sealed gate.  Pass through and loot the bookshelf as you head towards Vokun’s Throne Room. 

Enter to face the powerful Dragon Priest.  Vokun is a master at Destruction magic and will blast you spells as he dashes around the room.  Use columns to avoid his attacks and heal often.  When he fixates on Anska, go in for the kill.

After defeating the Dragon Priest, loot his body to get VOKUN’S MASK, which relates to a miscellaneous quest in Labyrinthian.  Enter the antechamber behind Vokun’s coffin to find two chests and a word wall.  Read it learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “STORM CALL”.  Make sure to take the SEALED SCROLL for Anska on the stone table.

Exit the chamber via the northern corridor, which provides a shortcut back to High Gates Ruins.  Give Anska the Sealed Scroll and she’ll reward you with the spell tome, “Conjure Flame Atronach”.

A N C E S T R A L   W O R S H I P  

To get this quest, travel to HILLGRUND’S TOMB, which is east of Whiterun and just south of Valtheim Towers.  Search the cliff above the entrance to find a dead bandit lying next to a locked chest.  Near it, you’ll also find a leveled bow and the Illusion SKILLBOOK, “The Black Arts on Trial”. 

As soon as you enter Hillgrund’s Tomb, a man named Golidir stops you.  The Nord needs help rescuing his aunt from a necromancer that has been defiling the family’s tomb.  Agree to assist Golidir and allow him to join you as a follower.  This begins the quest.

Protect Golidir as you head through the Draugr-infested crypt.  The wooden door at the bottom of the stairs is trapped so be careful passing through.  Fight undead enemies and loot corpses as you go.  Golidir complains the first time you loot one of his ancestors but ultimately allows you take anything you want.  Pick the novice-locked chest in the corridor then enter a brightly lit room to find Aunt Agna’s dead body.  Since the door in front of you is blocked, you’ll have to take an alternate route into the warlock’s chamber.

Golidir will pick up the pace now.  Follow him deeper into the tombs and fight stronger Draugr as they emerge from their resting places.  Explore offshoots for chests and keep an eye out for floor traps as you pass through.  When you reach the web-filled room with a floor grate in the middle, kill the Giant Frostbite Spider that descends from the ceiling.  Hidden behind cobwebs to the east is a skeleton holding an enchanted weapon.

Moving ahead, exploit a silver ore vein on the right and continue through the catacombs until you see a Whale carving on the left.  Prepare to fight several Draugrs that awaken in the next area.  After things calm down, Golidir mentions that the “bear leads the way”.  Look for a plaque showing a bear and pull the chain next to it to open the way forward.  Continue through to a room with a leveled Draugr resting on a throne.  Before entering the big doors, pick the locked door on the right to access a chest and some loose potions. 

When ready, enter the large burial chamber to face Vals Veran and his army of Draugr.  Try to sneak inside and shoot Val Veran with a bow before he notices you.  The necromancer uses powerful ice magic and fully heals himself as he teleports around the room.  If he freezes you in place, Draugrs will instantly swarm so don’t get backed into a corner.  After the third wave of Draugr, Veran stops teleporting.  Hunt him down then take out any remaining Draugr.

After clearing the room, Golidir thanks you and gives you some gold.  He leaves your company at this point and starts walking back towards the entrance.  Loot Val Veran’s body to obtain HILLGRUND’S CHEST KEY and take whatever else you want from the dead Draugrs.  Enter the door at the top of the stairs and use the key to open the boss chest inside.  Gather gems and gold off the table then unbar the door to return to the room with Aunt Agna’s body.

At the entrance, Golidir tells you he’s going to stick around to bury his aunt.  If you return later, you can ask Golidir to become your follower.

B L O O D   O N   T H E   I C E  

This quest becomes available on your fourth visit to WINDHELM, and only if you enter through the main gate between 7pm and 7am.  It cannot be started if certain Dark Brotherhood contracts have been carried out.  Assuming all is kosher, enter the city at night and go over to the graveyard where you’ll see people gathered around a dead woman.  Approach the crime scene and a Windhelm Guard will stop you.  Agree to question the witnesses for him.  Talk to the folks at the gravesite then report back to the guard.  He will not let you investigate further until you get permission from Jorleif in the Palace of the Kings. 

Seek out Jorleif and ask for permission to investigate.  He gladly accepts your help.  Jorleif says he noticed a path of blood leading away from the crime scene, and suggests speaking with Helgird in the Hall of the Dead as she preps the body for burial.  Return to the guard at the graveyard and tell him you gained permission to investigate.  Regarding the trail of blood – I did not see it.  Apparently this is a common glitch.  If you cannot see the blood trail near the grave, save and reload to see if the blood appears. 

Speak with Helgird in the Hall of the Dead to learn that the attack was carried out with a rare blade.  She offers nothing else of value, so start following the trail of blood.  It leads to Hjerim manor on the northwest end of the city.  Either pick the master-locked door to get inside, or find out who has a key.  To get the key, talk to Jorleif or the guard at the gravesite.  Both will tell you that Tova Shatter-Shield has the key.  Get it from her then enter Hjerim.

Once inside, follow the blood trail to a chest.  Pry it open and take BUTCHER’S JOURNAL 1 as well as a “BEWARE THE BUTCHER!” flier.  On a small shelf between the cabinets, you’ll find a messy stack of fliers.  Look for the cause of the mess, a STRANGE AMULET.  Take the amulet then investigate the right wardrobe to reveal a hidden altar.  Take BUTCHER’S JOURNAL 2 from the altar then exit the creepy house.

Return to Jorleif (or the guard) to ask about the fliers and the amulet.  You learn that a woman named Viola Giordano has been posting the fliers around town, and that Calixto Corrium can help identify the amulet.  Follow up on the clues, starting with Calixto, who runs “Calixto’s House of Curiosities” museum on the far end of town.  Go there and let Calixto give you a short tour of his collection.  When the tour ends, show him the amulet.  Calixto says it’s traditionally carried by court mages, and offers to purchase the amulet for 500 gold.  Accept his offer.

Talk to Viola Giordano next.  You’ll find her strolling the streets during the day and inside Candlehearth Hall at night.  Make sure you have the flier and Butcher’s Journals in your inventory, otherwise Viola will dash off to Hjerim to investigate and be of no help.  Ask her about the murders.  Viola suspects the Palace of the King’s court wizard, Wuunferth the Unliving, is involved.  Although your journal tells you to present the case against Wuunferth to Jorleif, you can instinctively confront Wuunferth yourself (the better choice).  Either way, go to the Palace of the Kings.  Who you choose to talk to affects what happens next:

Wuunferth

If you decide to confront Wuunferth, go upstairs and speak with the court wizard in his quarters at the end of the hall.  Steer the conversation toward the amulet, which he immediately identifies as the legendary “Necromancer Amulet”.  Wuunferth reveals that he has also been investigating the murders and has noted a pattern.  He predicts the killer will strike in the Stone Quarters at night and wants you to keep watch there.  Agree to do so.  Do not speak with Jorleif, but go straight to the merchant stalls near the White Phial.  Find a good hiding spot and wait until night falls.

Jorleif

If you decide to speak with Jorlief, he’ll ask for proof of Wuunferth’s involvement.  Tell him about the journals and the amulet.  Satisfied with the evidence, he’ll dash off to arrest Wuunferth.  Having received no reward, your journal will indicate that the quest is complete.  Leave Windhelm and return three days later at night.  Walk towards Candlehearth Hall to discover that another murder has taken place.  Talk to the Guard standing near the dead woman, who rightfully points out your failure.  A new quest pops up with the same name and the guard suggests talking to Wuunferth in prison to set things right.  Go to the Barracks underneath the Palace and speak with Wuunferth in his cell.  Steer the conversation toward the amulet, which he immediately identifies as the legendary “Necromancer Amulet”.  Wuunferth predicts the killer will strike in the Stone Quarters at night and wants you to keep watch there.  Agree to do so.  Leave the prison and go to the merchant stalls near the White Phial.  Find a good hiding spot and wait until night falls.

The merchant stalls in the Stone Quarters are devoid of activity at night, save for a lone city guard that might be standing nearby.  Wait there until you see a woman being followed by a man.  Shadow them until you see the man enter a sneak stance and draw his weapon.  Dash over and kill the Butcher before he strikes.  If the woman is rescued or murdered before you slay him, he’ll run away.  If necessary, chase the Butcher into Hjerim manor and kill him there.  Loot his body to get the NECROMANCER AMULET and other goodies, including a key.  Report to Jorleif to end the quest.

Before leaving Windhelm, visit Calixto’s House of Curiosities and use the key to open a chest on the second floor.  In it, you’ll find a Journal describing the motive for the crimes along with more incriminating evidence.  Feel free to loot the museum afterwards.

E V I L   I N   W A I T I N G 

To get this quest, travel to VALTHUME, which is southeast of Markarth.  Enter the vestibule to meet a ghost named Valdar.  Agree to seal away an evil Dragon Priest for Valdar to begin the quest.  After the ghost opens the gate to the ruins, he returns to his skeleton seated on the throne.

In order to seal away the evil, you need to collect three Vessels stored within the vast ruins.  Enter Valthume and pass through a large, enemy-free room, noting the sealed sarcophagus in the center.  Take the southern stairs down and avoid a floor trap around the corner, which activates a battering ram.  Fight Draugrs in the room below.  Since the door here is barred, enter the tunnel to the east and follow it into a huge offering room. 

Use the ledges to stealthy kill two Draugrs seated on thrones before they awaken.  After killing them, look for a hidden room above the altar containing some loot then jump down and open the chest below.  The grated floor here is trapped.  If you step on it, you’ll fall into a pit with four Frostbite Spiders and a Draugr.  The Draugr has a key that allows to you to escape the pit without having to pick the expert-locked door.  Back in the offering room, loot the shelves on the left then enter the southern tunnel.  Open the door on the right to collect some items, including the Restoration SKILLBOOK, “Withershins”. 

Continue down the tunnel, killing skeevers while avoiding both fire and dart traps, until you reach a room with a gate.  Pull the handle inside to lower a stone door.  Doing so causes the gate to disappear as well.  Ignore it for now and take the eastern path over to a Draugr boss.  After defeating the powerful foe, take the OPAQUE VESSEL it was guarding.  Now backtrack and follow the path where the gate used to be.

Upon entering the two-tiered room, several Draugrs will attack.  Fight your way up to the top and cross the bridge.  Unlock a door on the other side to access some potions and a chest.  Return to the bottom floor and enter the room in the northeast corner.  Pull the handle inside to reveal a tunnel leading to a chest and other goodies.  After gathering the loot, head back up and go through the eastern door to reach Valthume Catacombs.

The chest up ahead is trapped.  Opening it causes a giant spider to descend from the ceiling along with several little buddies.  After killing the spiders and grabbing the loot, pull a handle to open the eastern gate.  Fight through the Draugr-filled burial hall until you reach another gate.  Pull a chain in the alcove on the right to open it.  Pass through and fight another boss-type Draugr.  After killing him, remove soul gems from their pedestals to extinguish flame traps and take the second OPAQUE VESSEL.   Exit this section and head further down into the catacombs.

Fight Draugr that patrol below as well as those that emerge from the wall recesses.  Avoid stepping on the floor plate that springs a spiked wall as you head towards the back gate.  Pull a chain on the right to open it.  As you explore the next chamber, more Draugr emerge from their resting places.  Fight them then jump down to the level below.  Take the western path over to an iron door.  Go inside and kill frostbite spiders guarding an IRON CLAW.  Removing the Iron Claw from its pedestal activates four flamethrowers, so make haste to the circular puzzle door up ahead.

Open your inventory and look at the symbols etched on the Iron Claw.  Rotate the rings on the door to match.  From top to bottom, the door rings should show:  DRAGON / HAWK / WOLF.  Once set, touch the keyhole to lower the door.  When ready, enter the chamber and fight multiple, high-leveled Draugr.  Loot their bodies afterwards and claim the final OPAQUE VESSEL from its stand.  When you take it, a spear gate will open.  Pass through to find a boss chest and a word wall.  Read it to learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “AURA WHISPER”.  Now that you have all three vessels, head west to take a shortcut back to Valthume.

Speak with Valdar in the big room with the sealed sarcophagus.  The ghost tells you to empty the three vessels in a nearby sconce.  Do as he asks then sit on the throne, watching as Valdar calls forth the Dragon Priest Hevnoraak.  When the ritual is completed, Hevnoraak bursts out of his coffin and attacks.  Valdar is too weak to fight so you must defeat the powerful Dragon Priest alone.  Hevnoraak uses his staff to cast walls of lightning that can easily kill you if you’re not careful.  Use pillars to dodge his attacks and heal often.  Once he’s dead, loot his body to get his staff, lots of gold, and HEVNORAAK’S MASK – necessary for the miscellaneous quest in Labyrinthian.  Valdar thanks you for ridding the evil then disappears.  This ends the quest.

F O R B I D D E N   L E G E N D  

Although there are other ways to trigger this quest, the easiest method is to read the book, “Lost Legends”.  You’ll find copies all over Skyrim – Farengar’s study in Dragonsreach, for example.  Once read, your journal adds the vague objective: “Investigate the Gauldur Legend” and the quest begins.  Start by traveling to the ruins of FOLGUNTHUR, located south of Solitude.

Upon reaching Folgunthur, explore an abandoned campsite just outside the entrance.  In one of the tents you’ll find DAYNAS VALEN’S JOURNAL, which notes his obsession with the legend.  After exploring the campsite, enter the ruins to find the remains of adventurers who came before you.  Watch out for traps as you head through.  When you reach the dining room, several Draugr enemies ambush you.  Kill them then head to the right.  Avoid the loose floor grating, which can be locked in place using a lever.

Walk upstairs to find Daynas Valen’s dead body slumped over a dragon claw keyhole.  Loot the mage to obtain the IVORY DRAGON CLAW and read his notes to add three new objectives:

  • Find the Gauldur Amulet Fragment in Geirmund's Hall
  • Find the Gauldur Amulet Fragment in Folgunthur
  • Find the Gauldur Amulet Fragment in Saarthal

Folgunthur Fragment

Since you’re already in Folgunthur, proceed with that part of the quest.  Insert the Ivory Dragon Claw in the keyhole to release a bridge.  Go across and kill Draugrs as you head towards a room with four gates and four levers.  Each lever activates some gates and closes others.  To get all four gates to stay open simultaneously, face them and pull the first lever on the left followed by the second lever on the right.  Once all four gates are opened, walk down the stone steps and watch out for falling boulders on your way to the next room. 

Take out Draugrs seated on thrones before they awaken and kill others on patrol.  To open the metal grate on the floor, you need to solve a pillar puzzle using the two side rooms, which are accessed by levers.  Draugrs guard the side rooms so be careful when entering.  Rotate three pillars in the room on the left to mirror the three symbols shown in the room on the right.  Moving clockwise while facing the pillars, the symbols should show:  SNAKE / WHALE / EAGLE.  When set correctly, pull the chain in the middle to open the floor grate.  Descend into the damp cave. 

Kill spiders as you slosh though the water, eventually emerging in a long hallway.  As you walk towards the circular puzzle door at the end, six Draugr burst out of coffins and attack.  After killing them, open your inventory and take a look at the Ivory Dragon Claw you found earlier.  Rotate the door rings to match symbols shown on the claw.  From top to bottom they should show:  HAWK / HAWK / DRAGON.  Activate the keyhole to lower the door.  Loot the nearby table then proceed to Folgunthur Crypt.

In the center of the large chamber is a tomb.  As soon as you approach it, Mirkul Gauldurson bursts out, accompanied by several thralls.  The powerful Draugr boss uses frost magic as well as a one-handed blade that absorbs health.  Focus on taking down the boss then deal with the minor enemies afterwards.  Once all are dead, loot Mirkul’s body to get the Writ of Sealing, his GAULDUR BLACKBLADE, and the first GAULDUR AMULET FRAGMENT.  Use the Ivory Claw to open the gate on the right.  Move through to find a boss chest as well as a word wall.  Read it learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “FROST BREATH”.

The nearby door provides a shortcut back to Folgunthur.  Once there, use the Ivory Claw in the room with dead adventurers to find a hidden chest.  Exit to Skyrim and, when ready, locate the next Gauldur Amulet fragment.

Saarthal Fragment

To get the Saarthal Fragment, you need to join the College of Winterhold and complete the quest “Under Saarthal”.  You cannot access the ruin any other way.  Return to this guide after recovering the second GAULDUR AMULET FRAGMENT from Saarthal.

Geirmund’s Hall Fragment

When you’re ready to fetch another Amulet Fragment, travel to GEIRMUND’S HALL, which is just east of Ivarstead. 

Once inside, fight skeevers and loot the dead adventurer.  In the center of the chamber, you’ll find a deep pit.  Drop down into the water and search the bottom of the lake for a tunnel leading to a chest.  When your breath gives out, climb to dry land and cross the wooden bridge.  Enter the door on the other side and kill a nest of frostbite spiders.  Pick the locked door on the right to get some minor loot then continue down the path, veering left to reach a trapped chest.  Deactivate the trigger mechanism before opening it. 

Moving forward, beware of floor traps as you descend into a partially flooded crypt.  Note the animal symbols on the walls flanking the stairs.  Below, fight Draugrs then explore the chamber.  Be careful of a mammoth skull that releases when you remove the soul gem from the table.  Within the room, you’ll find four pillars that correspond to the symbols flanking the stairs.  While looking at the room from the entrance, rotate the two pillars on the left to show EAGLE and WHALE.  Rotate the two pillars on the right to show SNAKE and WHALE.  Once set, pull the lever at the far end to open the gate.

Go upstairs and fight Draugr in a narrow, two-tiered room.  Cross the wooden bridge on top to reach the final resting place of Archmage Geirmund.  Take the key from his fingers and use it to unlock the nearby door.  Fight Draugr and a frostbite spider in the arcane enchanter room then climb the western stairs.  Follow the tunnel to a dead end with a raised bridge.  The lever next to the bridge is trapped.  Directly behind you is another lever.  Pull that one to lower the bridge.

As you cross the bridge, you’ll see a chest protected by a rune trap on the ledge to the south.  Jump down to get it if you wish then make your way back up to the bridge.  Move forward to a second bridge.  Lower it and fight Draugrs on the other side.  Dash through a corridor full of blades then pull a chain on the other side to stop them from swinging. 

Continue into a flooded room with three circular platforms.  Approach the terrace on the other end and Sigdis Gauldurson rises from his coffin.  The boss immediately teleports to one of the platforms and creates two Illusions of himself that stand on the other platforms.  All three enemies are archers and use Shouts that can knock the weapon right out of your hands.  Identify the real Sigdis and shoot him down with a bow.  Targeting the Illusions merely causes Sigdis to teleport again with two fresh ones.  The real Sigdur wears a horned helmet and does not have purple markings on his armor. 

Once defeated, loot his body to obtain a Writ of Sealing, his GAULDER BLACKBOW, and the final GAULDUR AMULET FRAGMENT.  After taking the fragment, a tunnel opens behind his coffin.  Go through to find a boss chest, a Two-Handed SKILLBOOK titled “Words and Philosophy”, and some loose treasure.  Enter the nearby tunnel to find a lever that opens a shortcut back to the pit room. 

Reforging the Amulet

Having collected the three fragments, you must reforge the amulet inside REACHWATER ROCK.  To get there, head east from Markarth.  At the river, look for a hidden cave entrance behind the waterfall.  Make sure you still have the Ivory Dragon Claw in your inventory before entering.

Once inside the cave, head downstream.  If you feel like diving, there’s a chest in the pool plus a skeleton that you can loot.  Back on dry land, continue to a plateau where you’ll find a dead adventurer, a note warning you to stay back, and a podium containing the EMERALD DRAGON CLAW.  Take the Claw and proceed to the circular puzzle door.  Rotate the rings to match symbols on the Emerald Claw.  From top to bottom, the rings should show: BEAR / WHALE / SNAKE.  Activate the keyhole to lower the door and pass through.

A second puzzle door is up ahead.  Use the Ivory Dragon Claw to set these door rings.  From top to bottom, rotate the rings until they show: HAWK / HAWK / DRAGON.  Activate the keyhole and proceed into a huge burial chamber with stairs in the center.  Walk up and place the three fragments in their proper holders.  As soon as you do, the gate closes behind you.

The ghosts of all three Gauldurson brothers appear and you must fight them one at a time.  The first brother, Mikrul, summons a horde of Draugrs to help him fight.  Avoid getting surrounded and whack away until the ghost falls to his knees in defeat.  Next up is Sigdis, who summons three Illusions to trick you this time.  As before, use a ranged weapon to target the real one (with the curved horned helmet) as he teleports around the room.  When the ghost bends over in defeat, you’ll face the final brother, Jyrik, who summons powerful Dremora to help him fight and randomly teleports around the room.  Attack him until the final ghost falls to his knees.

At this point, Gauldur himself appears.  After blasting his murderous sons back to oblivion, the grateful wizard rewards you with his re-forged amulet.  Wearing the GAULDUR AMULET increases your health, magicka, and stamina by 30 points.  Loot Gauldur’s skeleton to receive lots of gold, then enter the new passage that opened.  Open the boss chest inside and make your way back to Skyrim.  Congratulations on solving the legend!

I N   M Y   T I M E   O F   N E E D  

This quest becomes available in WHITERUN after completing the Main Quest, “Dragon Rising”.  After killing the dragon for Whiterun’s Jarl, the next time you enter the city, you’ll meet some Redguards that are barred from entering.  One of them asks if you’ve seen a Redguard woman in town.  Although the Alik’r warriors won’t say why they’re looking for the woman, agree to find her to begin the quest, “In My Time of Need”.

Searching the city for a Redguard woman shouldn’t take too long since there’s only one fitting the description.  Enter the Bannered Mare and speak with the innkeeper’s assistant, Saadia.  Tell Saadia people are looking for her and she’ll ask to speak to you in private.  Either follow Saadia to her room upstairs, or leave Whiterun and inform the Alik’r warriors of her location.  If you decide to turn her in, your map will indicate where to find the traveling men.  They eventually end up in Rorikstead. 

If you want to hear what Saadia has to say, enter her room and she’ll pull a knife on you.  Tell her to calm down then agree to kill Kematu for her.  To find the Alik’r leader, Saadia recommends talking to a prisoner being held in the city’s jail.  Leave the inn and hike up to Dragonsreach.  Rather than crossing the bridge, head to the right and enter Dragonsreach Dungeon.  Persuade the guard inside to let you access the cells.  Talk to the Alik’r Prisoner when he approaches the bars and agree to pay his fine.  Give 100 gold to the nearby guard then return to the prisoner to learn that Kematu is hiding out in Swindler’s Den.

When ready, travel to SWINDLER’S DEN, which is west of Whiterun.  Prepare to fight bandits once you get there, including one guarding the entrance.  Sneak inside the cave and rid bandits in the first two rooms.  The third room is larger and contains more enemies.  Use a bow to stealthily kill the mage patrolling the balcony.  The battle will be a whole lot easier once she’s out of the way.  If they overwhelm you, dash out of the room and heal up before resuming the fight.

After looting the fallen, continue through the tunnel until you reach a watery crevasse.  Pass through the waterfall spray and walk upstairs to find Kematu with a team of Alik’r warriors.  At this point, you have another choice to make:  Either speak with Kematu to hear his side of the story, or kill all of the people in the cave.  If you choose to fight, prepare for a really tough battle.

If you choose not to fight, ask Kematu what you need to do next and he’ll tell you the exact same thing the Alik’r warriors would have told you if you never entered Saadia’s room – that you must lure the Redguard woman to Whiterun Stables where she will be captured and sent back to Hammerfell to stand trial.  Whether you agree to carry out Kematu’s plans or not, loot the chest and anything else in the waterfall cave before taking the shortcut out.

Return to Whiterun and enter the Bannered Mare.  If you killed Kematu, pick up your reward from Saadia (500 gold).  If you decided to betray Saadia, convince her to escape with you to Whiterun Stables (lie).  Reluctant at first, she eventually gets up and leaves the Bannered Mare.  Follow her closely as she dashes through the city and down to the stables.  Once there, Kematu will restrain her with a non-lethal spell and pay you a 500 gold reward for bringing her to justice.

Since you cannot tell who’s telling the truth, you could optionally kill Kematu before he restrains Saadia.  She’ll be angry but still pay you 500 gold.  Or you could kill both of them.  No matter how you resolve the issue, the quest ends.

I N F I L T R A T I O N

To initiate this quest, go to TREVA’S WATCH, which is west of Riften.  When you reach the fort, look for a small campsite to the east.  Talk to a man named Stalleo there and agree to help him retake his keep.  This begins the quest, “Infiltration”.

Stalleo wants you to find the gate lever so his team can enter through the courtyard.  He recommends using a tunnel near the campsite to get inside.  In truth, you can avoid the interior of the fort altogether simply by jumping over the rocks and dropping down to the lever in the courtyard, but let’s take Stalleo’s advice and check out what’s inside.

Use the Treva’s Watch Escape Tunnel hatch to sneak inside the fort.  Four bandits are stationed at the top of the stairs.  Shoot down an oil pot hanging above them to ignite the entire group then explore the area on the right to find two chests.  Avoid bear traps on the floor as you continue through the tunnel and head up another flight of stairs.  On top you’ll find a bandit working at an anvil.  Kill him and loot the smithing supplies.  After passing a room with corpses, enter the door to reach the main part of Treva’s Watch. 

Watch out for bear traps as you ascend the next staircase.  Kill the bandits on top then unlock the bedroom on the right and kill two more.  If you make too much noise, more enemies will rush to the area, including the Bandit Chief, so work quickly and get out of the room before you’re spotted.  Sneak up on the boss and his posse, who are chatting in the next room.  If you brought a follower along or can summon helpers, they will provide a great distraction.  Kill the foes and loot their bodies then unlock the adept-level door near the bedroom to access a chest.

Move through the tunnel and search the room on the left to get a “Bound Sword” spell tome.  Explore the dining area and look for a chest in the pantry.  Avoid the spiked wall trap as you pass through.  You’ll come to a staircase that veers off to the right.  The room above contains three powerful bandits, a boss chest, and the Enchanting SKILLBOOK, “Twin Secrets” – well worth a side trip before continuing down the tunnel.

Kill more bandits in a prison-like area then go to the far end of the passage to get a chest.  Avoid two floor traps along the way.  Backtrack to the exit now and go outside to the courtyard.  Once there, pull the gate lever right in front of you and watch as Stalleo’s crew marches in.  Fight the remaining bandits in the courtyard with Stalleo’s help.  After clearing the courtyard, speak with Stalleo to receive his thanks and a “Detect Life” spell tome.  This ends the quest.

K Y N E ' S   S A C R E D   T R I A L S

To get this quest, visit FROKI’S SHACK, located in the mountains south of Ivarstead.  Once there, speak with Froki and agree to hunt down three Guardian creatures – a wolf, a skeever, and a mudcrab – to start the quest.

Travel to the locations marked on your map and kill the three spectral creatures.  They are accompanied by regular creatures of their type, but are all easy to kill.  Report to Froki afterwards.  The old hunter gives you three new Guardian creatures to kill – a bear, a sabre cat, and a mammoth. 

Travel to the new locations and hunt down the three spectral beasts.  Regular wolves accompany the Guardian sabre cat but the other two animals will be alone.   Report back to Froki once you’ve killed them, and he will tell you to hunt down the Troll Champion.
 
To find the Troll Champion, enter GRAYWINTER WATCH, which is east of Whiterun near the Ritual Stone.  Inside the small cave you’ll find two regular trolls along with the spectral one.  Sneak through and kill them all.  Explore the cave afterwards to find FROKI’S BOW as well as the Archery SKILLBOOK, “Vernaccus and Bourlor”. 

Having completed the sacred trials, return to Froki and tell him you found his bow.  The old hunter will let you keep it and reward you with KYNE’S TOKEN.  The necklace reduces damage from animals by 10% and bows do 5% more damage.  That ends the quest.

L A I D   T O   R E S T  

To initiate this quest, go to MORTHAL and ask the innkeeper, Jonna, if she’s heard any rumors.  Jonna tells you the locals find it suspicious that Hraggar moved in with a new lover, Alva, the day after his wife and daughter died in a house fire.  She recommends talking to the Jarl about it.  This begins the quest, “Laid To Rest”.

Go to Highmoon Hall and ask Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone about the recent fire.  Agree to find out what really happened.  Locate the burned house on the outskirts of town.  Inside, you’ll encounter the ghost of Helgi, Hroggar’s daughter.  The child will not tell you who set the fire unless you agree to play hide-and-seek with her after dark.  In order to find Helgi’s “hiding place”, tell the innkeeper you saw Helgi’s ghost and she will direct you to the Jarl, who will mark Helgi’s gravesite on your map. 

Approach the graveyard at night to discover that you’re not alone.  Defeat the hostile vampire before she has a chance to turn you into one.  Afterwards, activate Helgi’s coffin and the child will thank you for ridding the “other”.  At the same time, Thonnir arrives to tell you the vampire was his wife.  Question Thonnir to learn that his wife had gone missing after spending time with Alva.  Agree to confront Alva in her home.

If you break into Alva’s house at night, Hroggar will be there and immediately become hostile.  If you break in during the day, the top floor will be empty but you’ll have to deal with vampire Alva in the basement.  Either way, your goal is to retrieve ALVA’S JOURNAL from her coffin.  After reading the journal, present it to the Jarl and she will reward you with some gold.  She then asks you to lead a team of townsfolk to MOVARTH’S LAIR and eliminate the master vampire who has been plaguing her city.

Go outside to find the townsfolk, led by Thonnir, waiting for you.  Follow them north to Movarth’s Lair.  At the entrance, all but Thonnir flee in terror.  You can bring Thonnir with you or tell him to wait outside.  After making your choice, deactivate a tripwire at the entrance then go inside.

Follow the tunnel down to a wooden platform with a couple of Frostbite Spiders lurking about.  After killing them, proceed through a network of tunnels, taking out any vampire inhabitants you come across and exploring offshoots for treasure.  If you didn’t kill Alva in her house, you’ll find her within the lair.  She will not harm you unless you attack.  Killing her in front of Thonnir will result in a bounty.  At some point you’ll reach a split with a higher and lower pathway.  The lower path leads to the main chamber where Movarth Piquine is feasting.

As soon as you attack the master vampire, thralls rush to his aid.  There are three openings in the chamber so be prepared to fight enemies coming in from all directions.  After killing Movarth and his thralls, explore each of the three offshoots, keeping in mind that other vampires may be present.  The northeastern path leads to a bedroom where you’ll find the Illusion SKILLBOOK, “2920, Suns Dawn, v2” as well as MOVARTH’S BOOTS (provides a 15% sneak bonus).  The path behind Movarth’s throne leads to an alchemy lab and the southern route leads to one final room with a chest.  Take the stone walkway up to a ledge that you can jump off to exit the lair. 

Helgi’s ghost will appear near the entrance to thank you for avenging her mother’s death.  Return to Morthal afterwards and tell the Jarl you’ve taken care of Movarth.  In addition to receiving gold, you’ve completed the prerequisite for becoming Thane. 

L I G H T ' S   O U T !  

To trigger this quest, go to SOLITUDE and speak with the Argonian man loitering near Angeline’s Aromatics shop.  When Jaree-Ra asks if you’re interested in making some extra coin, tell him you are.  He wants you to extinguish the beacon on top of Solitude’s Lighthouse so that a particular ship carrying valuable goods crashes.  Agree to do the job and begin the quest.

SOLITUDE’S LIGHTHOUSE is northeast of the city, an easy walk.  Once there, climb up the stairs and extinguish the fire.  On your way back down, you can sneak inside the lighthouse room to steal an Alteration SKILLBOOK, “The Lunar Lorkhan”, but beware of the Khajiit worker inside.  Note:  If you found “Treasure Map III” during your travels (located in Riverside Shack), the treasure chest it points to is on the northeast side of the lighthouse, behind a rock near the shore.

Report to Jaree-Ra on the dock of the EAST EMPIRE COMPANY WAREHOUSE, which is not too far away.  He tells you to meet his sister, Deeja, at the WRECK OF THE ICE RUNNER to collect your share of the loot.  Travel to the location marked on your map.  The ship is stranded near a small island east of Solitude, so you’ll have to swim across to get there. 

Climb aboard and enter the cargo hold.  Contrary to Jaree-Ra’s assurance that none of the sailors would be harmed, you’ll find their corpses dumped in the rooms below.  Deeja is inside the ship’s hull.  As soon as you talk to her, she attacks.  Kill Deeja and loot her body to find a NOTE FROM JAREE-RA.  Read it discover that the ship’s treasure was moved to Broken Oar Grotto.  All of the Blackblood Marauders will be hostile now, so kill everyone as you make your way out of the ship.

Back outside, travel to BROKEN OAR GROTTO, which is on the coast northwest of Solitude Lighthouse.  You’ll see empty rowboats clustered near the entrance.  Sneak inside and climb the scaffolding on the right.  Kill two Marauders on top then go up the slope.  Search the right path for a chest then follow the outer ledge to a raised drawbridge.  Use the nearby lever to lower it.  Before crossing over, follow the ramp down to a small dock.  Open a chest on the moored boat then walk back up to the drawbridge.

Cross over and follow the path to a split.  The left path leads to a ledge overlooking the scaffolding where Jaree-Ra is hiding.  The right path takes you through the Marauders’ living quarters before reaching the ledge.  Use that route if you want to loot the rooms and eliminate more enemies.  Either way, save your game before engaging the team guarding Jaree-Ra.  Use a bow to pick off as many Marauders as you can before being noticed.  Once spotted, Jaree-Ra and his men will surround you. 

Killing Jaree-Ra ends the quest.  To get your due reward, loot the scaffold area to find a chest and the Smithing SKILLBOOK, “Cherim’s Heart.  If you killed Captain Hargar, loot his body to get a key to his secret chest, which you’ll find on the sunken longboat below.

M I S S I N G   I N   A C T I O N

To trigger this quest, go to WHITERUN and speak with Fralia Gray-Mane at her stand in the marketplace.  She mentions that her son, Thorald, is missing and wants to speak privately with you in her home.  Enter the House of Gray-Mane to meet with Fralia and her other son, Avulstein.  They want you to infiltrate the Battle-Borns to find proof that Thorald is still alive.  Agree to do this to begin the quest, “Missing in Action”.

There are multiple ways to get proof from the Battle-Borns.  One option is to break into their house and steal the IMPERIAL MISSIVE from a locked office inside the bedroom.  No matter what time you do this, someone will be awake in the house.  Another option is to persuade Idolaf Battle-Born to give you the proof directly, though you’ll need a high Speech skill to successfully convince him.  The last option is to pickpocket Jon Battle Born-Born to get a “Letter from Olfina”.  Confront Jon with knowledge of his affair and he’ll give you the Imperial Missive later that night.

However you manage to obtain it, bring the Imperial Missive to Avulstein and Fraila Gray-Mane.  Learning that Thalmor agents are holding Thorald, Avulstein plans to rescue him in Northwatch Keep.  You can tell him you’ll handle it yourself, or offer to meet him there.  The Thalmor are tough enemies, so accept his offer to help.  Bring your own follower as well.

Make your way to NORTHWATCH KEEP, which is west of Solitude on the edge of the frozen sea.  If you didn’t travel with Avulstein, you’ll find him waiting with his men just east of the fort.  Join them in raiding the keep, which is heavily guarded by Thalmor agents.  Although Avulstein cannot die, it’s likely that his men will perish before ever getting inside.  Let Avulstein draw Thalmor enemies towards him and pick them off one by one from afar.  Looting all of the dead Thalmor is very profitable, since most carry glass weapons and wear expensive elven armor.  Hopefully you took my advice and brought a follower to help you carry all of the goods.

After clearing the courtyard, enter the Keep.  Let Avulstein rush ahead to fight Thalmor enemies.  Back him up and loot rooms as you head further down.  Upon reaching the mess hall, look for a One-Handed SKILLBOOK titled “2920, Morning Star, v1" near the bar.  Continue into a tiered room and kill all Thalmor agents on both floors.  Enter the side room on the lower level and kill the Thalmor mage inside to get the NORTHWATCH CAPTAIN’S KEY.  You’ll find the Two-Handed SKILLBOOK, “Battle of Sancre Tor” in there as well.  Proceed to the interrogation area.

After taking out a Thalmor on patrol, head left and use the Captain’s Key to get inside the interrogation room.  Kill the mage torturing poor Thorald then free him from his chains.  Loot the mage’s body to get the Northwatch Keep Key and open the nearby boss chest.  Protect Thorald as you lead him through the prison section.  You can talk to other prisoners languishing in cells though none will leave if you try to free them.  Use the mage’s key to unlock the door and exit to the courtyard.

Once you’ve safely made it outside, Thorald thanks you and asks you to deliver a message to Fralia (“...suffer the winter’s cold wind”) to let her know he’s safe.  The grateful brothers intend to seek refuge with the Stormcloaks and will never see their mother again.  Return to Whiterun and give the message to Fralia, who rewards you with an enchanted weapon originally intended for her son.  This ends the quest.

N O   O N E   E S C A P E S   C I D H N A   M I N E  

This quest automatically begins after finishing “The Forsworn Conspiracy” side quest in Markarth.  As soon as you exit any building in Markarth, city guards strip you of your entire inventory and toss you inside CIDHNA MINE prison.  The goal, of course, is to escape the terminal prison and get all your stuff back.

Walk out of the cell and speak with the other prisoners mulling about.  The man sitting near the fire tells you that Madanach runs the show down here; any hope of getting out needs to go through him.  To reach the Forsworn leader, you need to get past his bodyguard, Borkul the Beast.  Talk to the big Orc.  If your Speech skill is high enough, you can persuade Borkul to let you pass.  If that fails, either beat him in a brawl, or bring him the Shiv he asks for.

To get a Shiv, go through the southern tunnel and talk to Grisvar the Unlucky.  He’ll give you his Shiv if you bring him a bottle of Skooma.  Both Braig and Duach carry Skooma.  To get it,  pickpocket, persuade, or brawl one of them.  Once you’ve obtained the SKOOMA, bring it to Grisvar in exchange for the SHIV.  En route back to Borkul, pick up one or two Pickaxes off the floor.  If necessary, give the Shiv to Borkul and he’ll hand you the key to Madanach’s cell.  Unlock the door and make a choice:  Either join forces with Madanach (the Forsworn option) or assassinate him without getting caught (the Silver-Blood option):

The Forsworn Option:

If you decide to spare Madanach, walk into his room and speak with him.  After listening to his story, he sends you off to talk to Braig.  Listen to Braig’s story then return to Madanach.  To earn your freedom, you need to do something for him – namely, assassinate Grisvar the Unlucky.  If you don’t have a Shiv, get one from his bodyguard on your way out.  Equip the weapon and sneak over to Grisvar.  Assassinate him when no one’s watching then return to Madanach.

Tell him you carried out the deed then follow Madanach as he informs his loyal followers that the time has come for a mass prison break.  Follow the group into a secret escape tunnel attached to the Markarth Ruins.  Let them fight the Frostbite Spiders and Dwarven Spheres that attack as you rush through the ruins.  Just before exiting, your belongings are returned to you and Madanach adds the ARMOR OF THE OLD GODS to your inventory as a reward.  Re-equip your gear before heading outside.

Once there, watch a confrontation between Madanach and Thonar Silver-Blood.  When it ends, follow the Forsworn as they fight their way out of Markarth, watching as many citizens and guards perish.  You can participate in the fighting or not.  Back outside, the Forsworn will continue running to DRUADACH REDOUBT, their new home base.  Having helped the clan, you’ll be welcomed there (and in all other Forsworn encampments) from now on.  All bounties in Markarth are lifted after completing the quest.

The Silver-Blood Option:

If you decide to assassinate Madanach, you must do so using only a pickaxe or a shiv, which is not easy to pull off silently.  Assuming you are successful, loot his body to obtain a note that tells you how to escape.  Sneak through the tunnel and enter Markarth Ruins.  Since you’re not adequately armed, sneak past the Frostbite Spiders and Dwarven Spheres patrolling the ruins.  If any spot you, cast spells or use Shouts to buy enough time to escape.  Exit to Markarth, where you’ll find Thonar Silver-Blood waiting with all of your belongings.  As a reward, he gives you the SILVER-BLOOD FAMILY RING, which fortifies smithing by 15%.  All bounties in Markarth are lifted after completing the quest.

Note that you can obtain both rewards by betraying Madanach right after he gives you the special armor.  Attacking Madanach before he exits the ruins causes all of the Forsworn to re-enter and seals the door shut for the duration of the fight.  Once all Forsworn are dead, the door unlocks and you can go out to collect your extra reward from Thongar.

P R O M I S E S   T O   K E E P  

To trigger this quest, go to RIFTEN and enter the Bee and Barb Inn.  Talk to the man standing near the door, Louis Letrush, about a horse named Frost.  Agree to speak with Sibbi Black-Briar about the undelivered horse to begin the quest “Promises to Keep”.

Sibbi is being held in the city’s jail, which is on the right side of Mistveil Keep.  Enter Riften Jail and persuade (or bribe) the guard to let you enter the cellblock.  Once inside, speak with Sibbi to learn that Frost’s Lineage Papers are kept at his family’s estate, the Black-Briar Lodge, and that the horse was never his to give away.  Optionally threaten to tell Sibbi’s mother about his scheme, and he’ll give you a key to the Lodge Stash as hush payment.  Back in Riften, you can tell Maven Black-Briar about her son’s scheme, though doing so adds nothing of value. 

When ready, travel to BLACK-BRIAR LODGE, which is east of Riften.  Sneak up the hill and kill two Mercenaries guarding the entrance.  Loot one of their bodies to get the Black-Briar Lodge Key and use it to unlock the side door or the front door.  Once inside, kill Mercenaries on the first floor or sneak by them.  Take the stairs down to the basement.  If you received Sibbi’s Stash Key, use it to unlock the strongbox at the bottom of the stairs.  Look for FROST’S LINEAGE PAPERS on a table around the corner.  If you spoke to Maven, you will not see an arrow pointing to the papers, but you still need to take them.  After reading the papers, your quest log adds a new objective:  Steal Frost.”

Before leaving the lodge, explore all floors.  In addition to chests, you’ll find an “unusual gem” (STONE OF BARENZIAH) and the Sneak SKILLBOOK “Legend of Krately House” in the upstairs bedroom.  Exit through the front door and save your game before stealing the horse.  The next part tends to be glitchy.

Frost will be grazing in his stable or standing just down the road.  Mount the horse and veer north towards the quest marker.  While riding over to Louis Letrush, you’ll be ambushed by bandits, bears, spiders, or mages (depending on your level).  If you dismount, Frost will either gallop back to the lodge or help you fight.  The horse can easily die so be careful.  Retrieve Frost afterwards and continue riding over to Letrush, who is usually standing in a grove of trees.  Protect Letrush and Frost if you get attacked while talking to him.  If either one dies during the conversation, reload your game and try again.  There are a number of ways to complete the quest:

- Get payment from Letrush and let him leave with the horse. 
- Get payment from Letrush then persuade him to give you Frost.
- Get payment and the horse then kill Letrush to loot his body.

If you choose to take the horse, Frost becomes your follower in addition to any human follower you may have.  Also, Louis will send an unnamed “thug” after you at some point during your travels.  If you spoke to Maven then gave the horse to Louis, she’ll send a thug after you.

R E P A I R I N G   T H E   P H I A L  

To get this quest, you first need to complete “The White Phial” side quest and the main quest “Throat of the World”.  At some point after completing those two quests, a Courier will arrive with a letter from Quintus Navale.  Travel to Windhelm and speak with Quintus in the White Phial alchemy shop.  Agree to collect three ingredients for him (Mammoth Tusk Powder, Unmelting Snow, and a Briar Heart) to begin the quest.

To get a BRIAR HEART (if you don’t already have one), kill and loot a Forsworn Briarheart enemy.  There are several Forsworn camps near Markarth.  Some alchemy shops sell them.

To get UNMELTING SNOW, fast-travel to the Throat of the World and climb to the peak.  A quest arrow will point to the patch of snow you need to collect.

To get the MAMMOTH TUSK POWDER, go to Stonehill Bluff, a giant’s camp located between Dawnstar and Whiterun.  Once there, deal with two giants and a mammoth to reach the vessel containing the Powder.  Unless you are highly leveled, sneak attacks are the way to go.  Loot the big foes afterwards and look for two chests in the basin. 

Return to Windhelm and give the ingredients to Quintus.  After he creates the special tonic, follow him upstairs for a scene with Nurelion.  When it ends, offer your condolences.  For your help, Quintus gives you the repaired WHITE PHIAL.  Select which type of liquid Quintus should put in the Phial: 

  • I’d like to have the power of healing (restore 100 points of health)
  • I want to resist the forces of magic (boost magic resistance by 20% for 60 seconds)
  • I want to be tougher in battle (+20 stamina for 300 seconds)
  • I want to strengthen my magical skills (+20 magicka for 300 seconds)
  • I want to deal more damage in battle (boost one-handed damage by 50% for 60 seconds)
  • I want to be better hidden in the shadows (20% harder to detect for 60 seconds)

Drinking the contents of the White Phial moves it to your ‘Miscellaneous’ inventory.  The vessel refills once per day with the same effect and can be reused unlimited times.

R E P E N T A N C E  

To initiate this quest, travel to DARKLIGHT TOWER, which is southwest of Riften.  Upon entering the ruined fort, you’ll hear sounds of fighting in the next room.  Go inside and watch as a mage defeats a witch.  Speak with Illia afterwards and she’ll ask for your help in stopping her mother from becoming a hagraven.  Agree to assist Illia to begin the quest, “Repentance”.

Illia joins you as a follower now and she’s a real asset.  In fact, she can take out most enemies on her own, allowing you more time to explore.  Before going upstairs, unlock the adept-level door to the northeast to access a chest.  Continue up to a balcony overlooking a room with spiders.  Snipe them then follow the balcony over to a door.  Kill the Hag inside then loot the alchemy lab.  Look for a chest hidden behind an overturned table in the northwest corner.

Go upstairs to the third floor sleeping quarters.  Fight witches (and possibly a troll) as you explore the two-tiered space.  The smaller platform contains a spiked wall trap, so be careful when exploring that side.  Spears block the doorways above and you’ll see a lever behind one of them. 

To access it, follow the western corridor into an area filled with thick cobwebs.  Cut through webbing on the right to discover a chest then continue east.  Take the stairs into a room with a fireplace.  Pull a lever that lowers the spear bars here, as well as those blocking the doorways seen earlier.  Illia warns that a hagraven is ahead.  Sneak upstairs and enter the wooden door.  Kill the hagraven inside, as well as her pet creatures.  Loot the hagraven and read the Illusion SKILLBOOK, “2920, Sun's Dawn, v2” on the table.  Head north to reach Darklight Chambers.

Take the stairs up to a witch and a hag surrounded by wooden stakes.  After killing them, Illia approaches a master-locked door, hinting that an enemy in the next room will have the key.  Alternately, you could just pick the lock.  If you decide to get the key off the hagraven, you’ll find her in a multi-leveled lair to the east.  A hag will be there, too.  Loot the hagraven’s key and open a chest inside her tent.   After exploring the lair, return to Illia at the locked door.

Pass through, defeating more enemies as you traverse the corridors.  When you reach the room with the arcane enchanter, look for a chest against the eastern wall.  Go upstairs to a balcony and kill the foes there.  Get the Destruction SKILLBOOK, “Mystery of Talara, v3”, on the table and take whatever else appeals to you.  Continue to the top of the tower, where you’ll find a door.  Illia explains that her mother, Silvia, is preparing a dark ritual outside.  In order to distract her, Illia wants you to pretend to be a sacrifice she’s brought.  Agree to the plan and go outside.

Play along and sit in the chair near Sylvia’s ritual totems.  Wait for Illia to shoot her mother with a spell then finish the job.  Sylvia is an adept caster so you’ll have to run around to avoid her fire bolts.  After defeating the boss, Illia thanks you and the quest ends.  Illia can be recruited as a follower from now on and will stay in the tower until you need her.  Make sure to loot Sylvia to get the unique STAFF OF HAG’S WRATH and open the boss chest in her tent.  You’ll also find the Destruction SKILLBOOK, “Horror of Castle Xyr” near the campfire.  Use the lever near the spear gate to exit Darklight Tower.

R I S E   I N   T H E   E A S T  

To initiate this quest, go to WINDHELM and walk down to the docks in the southeast corner of the city.  Once there, enter the East Empire Company shipping office during business hours and speak with Orthus Endario.  He explains that pirate attacks have stopped all shipments and thinks the Shatter-Shield clan has something to do with it.  To prove his theory, he wants you to steal a logbook from Suvaris Atheron, who works next door.  Agree to help Orthus to begin the quest, “Rise in the East”.

Go outside and enter the Shatter-Shield Office right next door, or wait to break in when Suvaris has left for the night.  Either way, steal SUVARIS’ LOGBOOK without getting caught and bring it back to Orthus.  After reading the logbook, Orthus asks you to go to Dawnstar to question Stig Salt-Plank, former captain of the Blood Horkers.

When ready, travel to DAWNSTAR and enter the Windpeak Inn to find Stig carousing with his men and annoying other patrons.  Ask Stig about his pirate activities and pretend to be interested.  He eventually becomes suspicious of your questions and will say nothing further until you bribe him, brawl him, or kill him to get the note he carries.  Ultimately you learn the location of the Blood Horkers hideout, JAPHET’S FOLLY. 

Return to Windhelm and tell Orthus what you learned.  He introduces you to Adelaisa, who will take you to Japhet’s Folly aboard her ship.  When you mention Haldyn, the powerful wizard running the pirate operation, Adelaisa becomes scared and dashes out of the office.  Follow her out to the docked ship.  Speak with the East Empire Mercenary when you’re ready to set sail.

On board the ship, a strange fog rolls in.  Talk to Adelaisa, who explains that Haldyn created the fog to disorient ships.  Since the crew is too scared to face the wizard, you’ll have to infiltrate his heavily guarded compound alone and kill Haldyn to remove the fog.  When the ship anchors, hop down and head south across the ice to find a hidden Sea Cave.

Once inside, kill a few mudcrabs and loot a chest.  Follow the path up to a room with a lone Blood Horker.  Do not underestimate these pirates; they are tough to defeat.  Loot the room and walk up the slope to a door.  Enter Japhet’s Folly Tower. 

Watch out for the spiked wall trap as you climb the stairs.  On top, kill two Blood Horkers then open the door to a hallway with a chest.  Ignore the other door for now and proceed to the next room where you’ll have a choice of going up or down.  Go downstairs first and kill the Blood Horkers stationed below.  Unlock a door to find the remains of Japhet, a Draugr that perished long ago.  Read his journal and unlock the nearby boss chest.  In the adjacent room, you’ll find a locked chest in the center and several loose items.  After exploring below, backtrack upstairs and head to the top of the tower to face Haldyn.

Try sneaking up on the wizard before he has a chance to blast you with shock spells.  After killing Haldyn, loot his body to get the Japhet’s Folly Key and grab treasure from a nearby chest.  To exit the tower, walk downstairs and return to the expert-locked door you passed earlier.  Use the key to get outside.

With the fog lifted, Adelaisa’s mercenaries will be bombing the place to shreds.  Make your way back to the ship, killing any Blood Horkers that get in your way.  Adelaisa will be waiting for you on the dock.  Talk to her when you’re ready to depart.  Back at the Windhelm docks, report to Orthus in the East Empire Company shipping office.  He’ll reward you with gold and allow you to take most items in the office.  You can also recruit Adelaisa as a follower from now on.

R I S I N G   A T   D A W N

This quest only becomes available if you are a vampire.  Once you’ve contracted the disease, there may come a time when you want to cure the condition.  If so, keep asking innkeepers for rumors until one mentions that Falion is studying vampirism in Morthal.  Note that you cannot go directly to Falion to get the “Rising at Dawn” quest – it has to be triggered by a rumor.

Once you’ve heard the rumor, go to Morthal and ask Falion about his research.  After he acknowledges your condition, ask him if he can cure vampirism.  Falion says he can remove the curse if you bring him a FILLED BLACK SOUL GEM.  If you have one, give it to him; otherwise, purchase an empty Black Soul Gem from Falion and return once you’ve filled it with a human soul.  To do this, kill someone using a soul trapping weapon or spell.

After giving the Filled Black Soul Gem to Falion, he’ll tell you to go to the Summoning Stones at dawn.  The ritual will only work if you’re a Stage 1 vampire, so “feed” before meeting up with Falion just north of town.  He’ll be at the Stones between 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning.  Once there, speak with Falion to start the ritual.  When it ends, you’ll be cured of vampirism.

S I E G E   O N   T H E   D R A G O N   C U L T  

To get this quest, visit FORELHOST, which is south of Riften.  Speak with Captain Valmir outside the ruins and agree to help him obtain Rahgot’s Mask from the Dragon Priest inside.  Valmir is also interested in obtaining Skorm Snow-Strider’s Journal, which is added as an optional objective.  This starts the quest, “Siege on the Dragon Cult”. 

Enter the stronghold and fight the ghost sitting next to a campfire, one of many Dragon Cultists that inhabit Forelhost.  Loot the room then get past the swinging log trap to reach a 4-way split.  The left path leads to a blocked gate and there’s a cave-in straight ahead, so your only option is to head right.  Dash through the swinging blades and kill Dragon Cultists on the other side.  Once defeated, open a chest and search the nearby table to find SKORM SNOW-STRIDER’S JOURNAL.

Go through the door and follow the path to another intersection.  Heading left leads to a forge occupied by more Dragon Cultists.  After clearing the room of smithing materials and a chest, backtrack to the intersection and head right.  Defeat ghosts in the dining hall and explore a side room then follow the upper walkway into the crypts. 

In addition to a ghost, kill two Draugrs that awaken.  Look for a trapped chest up above and take loose gems off a table.  Continue through the door and be careful of floor traps that spew fire.  Kill a leveled Draugr here or lure him into the flames.  At the far end of the room, use a lever to lower the spear gate and pass through the wooden doors to reach Forelhost Crypt. 

After killing another Dragon Cultist, you’ll come to a split where you can go left or right.  Heading left leads to a master-locked door.  If you can pick it, do so to proceed – otherwise, follow the tunnel on the right through Draugr-filled catacombs and down to a chest containing the key.  Either way, unlock the door and proceed to a caged well.  Drop down into the water and swim through a submerged tunnel to reach a cavern. 

Kill skeevers and spiders there then swim underwater again to get to a room with poison dart traps.  Look for the Restoration SKILLBOOK, “The Exodus”, on a nearby shelf then head through the door to engage several Draugrs.  Avoid the center of the room, which raises a platform to a spiked ceiling.  Go left and enter the Forelhost Refectory.

Fight Draugr enemies as you pass through a dining room and into an area with foliage.  Search the left alcove to find a note related to the small victims here and look for a chest under the stairs.  Use the lever on top to open the barred gate leading back to the dining room.  Follow the new path into an alchemy room guarded by Draugrs.  After defeating them, loot the room and continue towards a Draugr guarding a soul gem trap that shoots lightning.  Kill the Draugr and knock the soul gem off its pedestal to stop the lightning.

The door on the right leads back to the dining area, so head left.  Take the GLASS DRAGON CLAW off a pedestal on the right and ignore the expert-locked door.  Apart from advancing your Lockpicking skill, there’s nothing gained by opening it.  Defeat more Draugrs as you proceed down the hallway, eventually arriving at a circular puzzle door.  Open your inventory and take a look at the Glass Dragon Claw.  Rotate the door rings to match symbols shown on the Claw.  From top to bottom, set the rings to show:  FOX / OWL / SNAKE.  Place the Claw in the keyhole to lower the door and save your game before passing through. 

Sneak upstairs to face the Dragon Priest, Rahgot, along with his Draugr (or Dremora) minions.  Rahgot casts high-level fire spells and uses wards to avoid all damage.  Melee fighters will have a harder time defeating the Dragon Priest since he rarely lets you get close enough to harm him.  Use ranged weapons, summon helpers, and heal often.

After defeating the boss, loot his body to acquire RAHGOT’S MASK, his staff, and a key that unlocks the iron doors.  After looting the room, go outside to the battlements where you’ll find a word wall related to the Dragon Shout, “STORM CALL”.  You’ll see Valmir talking to another person below, suddenly wearing a new uniform.  Hop down and speak with Valmir, who reveals himself as a Thalmor agent and attacks.  Kill him and loot his body afterwards to get VALMIR’S ORDERS.  The note suggests that the mask was going to be taken to Labyrinthian.  This relates to a miscellaneous quest involving all Dragon Priest Masks.

S I L E N C E D   T O N G U E S  

To get this quest, travel to VOLUNRUUD, which is in the mountains southeast of Morthal.  On your way there, look for a blood trail northwest of the entrance towards the top of the hill.  Follow it to find a leveled bow as well as TREASURE MAP VI.  The blood trail ultimately leads to the bodies of two Wood Elves.  Search both then hike back down to Volunruud’s entrance.  Go inside and loot the dead explorer in the first room to acquire HEDDIC’S VOLUNRUUD NOTES.  Read them to add the objective, “Locate the Ceremonial Weapons”, which begins the quest.

The Ceremonial Weapons open the sealed door up ahead.  To find them, you need to explore the left and right paths.  Both routes contain Draugr enemies and traps.  The left path is linear and leads to the CEREMONIAL AXE.  The right path involves a longer climb, leading to the CEREMONIAL SWORD.  Each weapon is guarded by a boss-level Draugr that you’ll have to defeat.  As usual, look for chests along the way and get the One-Handed SKILLBOOK, “Mace Etiquette” near the boss throne on the right-hand side.

Once you have claimed both weapons, bring them back to the central room.  Go upstairs and place the weapons in their holders to unlock the Elder's Cairn.  Doing so adds a new objective: “Defeat Kvenel.” 

Continue down the new hallway to a burned corpse kneeling near a fireplace.  Look for an Ice Storm scroll under the body then proceed to a bridge.  Snipe the Draugrs above before they jump down and knock you off the bridge.  As you move forward, you’ll hear the familiar chant of a Dragon Wall getting closer.  Before you can reach it, you must defeat the ghost of Kvenel the Tongue.  Follow the narrow passage into a large room where the boss awaits.  Use the pillars to hide behind and shoot him with ranged shots.  Kvenel mainly casts ice spells and will use his Unrelenting Force shout if you get too close.  Apart from that, he’s not too difficult to defeat.

After killing Kvenel, the quest ends.  Loot his corpse to receive EDUJ, a unique sword, and search the ground near his remains to get OKIN, a unique axe.  Go upstairs to collect a boss chest and the One-Handed SKILLBOOK, “Night Falls on Sentinel”.  Examine the wall to learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “AURA WHISPER” and explore the upper ledge where the Draugr archers were to get another chest.  Hop down onto the bridge and exit.

T E N D I N G   T H E   F L A M E S

To activate this quest, visit the BARDS COLLEGE in Solitude.  Once there, speak with Viarmo and ask if you can become a member.  To gain admittance, agree to find King Olaf’s Verse for the bard.  This starts the quest, “Tending the Flames”.

When ready, travel to DEAD MEN'S RESPITE, located in the mountains southwest of Morthal.  Upon entering, a ghost beckons you to follow then disappears through the sealed gate. Pick up the RUBY DRAGON CLAW from its stand to awaken four Draugrs.  After killing them, the gate unseals.  Pass through and explore offshoots as you follow the ghostly bard further into the ruins.  Watch out for floor traps on the left.  Pull the chain at the end and enter a maze-like series of rooms.

In one of them, kill spiders then cut through cobwebs in the western corner to reveal a chest.  Continue pulling chains to rotate slabs, gaining access to adjacent rooms.  Keep an eye out for Draugrs as you go.  Avoid a battering ram as you enter the easternmost room.  Inside, get the Speech SKILLBOOK, “The Buying Game”.  After navigating through the maze rooms, head north.  Watch out for a flame trap as you descend the stairs and kill the spiders below.  After looting shelves, pull a chain on the right to open the floor grating.  Drop down into a watery pit.

Kill skeevers and Draugrs as you move onward, including archers posted on the ledge above.  Walk up to a caged bridge.  Avoid a tripwire as you pass through the gate that activates swinging blades.  If you activate them, dash across the bridge without getting knocked off.  A chain on the other side stops the blades.  Go up another level and open the big door.

Use the arcane enchanter at the end of the hallway if you wish, then watch as your ghostly guide passes through a sealed door.  Since you can’t open it, walk down into the catacombs.  Be careful of traps and Draugr ambushes below.  Pick an expert-locked door to reach a master-locked chest before heading into the next room.  The gate shuts behind you and a team of Draugrs attack.  After defeating them, search the side rooms.  One contains a trapped chest.  Back in the central room, pull a chain and descend the spiral staircase.

Below, activate a handle to open a rock wall.  Inside the alcove, you’ll see the ghost sitting next to his corpse (Svaknir the bard).  Take KING OLAF’S VERSE from the corpse and climb back up.  Return to the sealed door you passed earlier.  The ghost will open it for you now.  Proceed to the circular puzzle door.  In your inventory, look at symbols etched on the Ruby Dragon Claw and rotate the door rings to match.  From top to bottom, they should show:  WOLF / HAWK / WOLF.  Once set, activate the keyhole to lower the door.

In the final chamber, you’ll see many Draugrs sitting on thrones and Svaknir’s ghost standing in the center of them.  As soon as you approach the ghost, he leads you into battle.  Help him fight the Draugr as they rise from their seats.  After killing the first wave of enemies, four higher-leveled Draugr rise from the ledge above.  After killing them, Olaf One-Eye bursts out of his coffin.  The powerful Draugr boss can disarm you so run away when you see him ready his Shout.  Svaknir will be a real asset and soon enough, the two of you will defeat the boss.

After the long battle, Svaknir will walk to the nearby door and play a little tune on his lute before disappearing.  Search Olaf’s body to receive an enchanted sword and the key to his treasury.  Read the word wall behind Olaf’s coffin to learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “WHIRLWIND SPRINT” and collect a good bit of gold from all the dead Draugrs.  Use Olaf’s key to unlock the iron door and raid his treasure room.  Flip the nearby lever to open a shortcut out of the respite.

Return to Bards College in Solitude and give the verse to Viarmo.  As he reads it, he’ll ask you to improvise some passages for him.  Each time you are given a dialog choice, pick the phrase with the “persuade” option to slightly increase your Speech skill.  Once the text has been filled in, Viarmo asks you to watch him present it in court.  Follow him to the Blue Palace.  Speak with Viarmo in the lobby then go upstairs and listen to his performance.  The Jarl is pleased and agrees to reinstate the Burning of King Olaf Festival.

Speak with Viarmo after Jarl Elisif leaves.  He wants you to tell Jorn the festival is back on.  Go to the Bards College and talk to Jorn, who tells you to return at 9pm.  Wait until that hour then speak with Jorn again.  Follow him out to the terrace where a small crowd has gathered.  Wait for Viarmo to arrive then watch him burn the effigy.  When the ceremony ends, Viarmo congratulates you on becoming a bard and rewards you with leveled gold.  He also suggests speaking with other bards that may need your help (refer to the Solitude section in the “Skyrim Miscellaneous Quests” guide for details).

T H E   B L E S S I N G S   O F   N A T U R E  

To initiate this quest, go to WHITERUN and enter the Temple of Kynareth.  Ask Danica Pure-Spring about the white tree outside.  The priestess tells you that the Gildergreen tree is sick and needs the sap of its mother to thrive.  Ask Danica how to collect the sap and she’ll tell you about a special blade that needs to be used.  Agree to find the Nettlebane to begin the quest.

The blade is being held by a coven of witches at ORPHAN ROCK.  To get there, pass through Helgen (which is now occupied by bandits) and follow the road east until you can veer north.  The witches have placed exploding rune traps around their camp, so be careful as you hike up the hill.  As soon as you’re spotted, witches will dash towards you and attack, but what you really need to watch out for is the Hagraven that spams fireballs from above.

At the top of the hill, loot the witches’ tent and save your game before crossing the thin bridge to the Hagraven’s perch.  She’s too far away to effectively kill with ranged shots, so dash over and get personal.  Once the boss is dead, loot her body to acquire the NETTLEBANE dagger and collect items from her tent.  When ready, return to the Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun.

Tell Danica Pure-Spring you found the Nettlebane and she’ll ask you to take it to ELDERGLEAM SANCTUARY to collect the sap.  Maurice Jondrelle overhears your conversation and asks if he can tag along.  Agree to let him follow you or tell Maurice you prefer traveling alone.  Bringing Maurice gives you an optional, non-destructive method of collecting sap.  The big disadvantage is that he is completely unarmed and can easily die en route to the Sanctuary.

Either way, travel to Eldergleam Sanctuary, which is east of Whiterun and just north of Darkwater Crossing.  Prepare to encounter at least one dragon on your way there.  Enter the cave and follow the path into a beautiful clearing where you’ll meet two pilgrims admiring the massive “mother” tree.  Talk to the couple and look for a Restoration SKILLBOOK (“The Mystery of Talara, v2”) propped against a rock near Asta’s backpack.  As you hike up to the big tree, open a chest sitting on a rocky ledge.

On top, large roots block the way forward.  Equip the Nettlebane and slice the roots to have them part.  Continue slicing roots as you head to the top.  Before approaching the base of the tree, slice a cluster of roots near the left rock face to access a chest.  If Maurice is with you, he’ll protest that you’re injuring the tree.  Ask him if he has a better way of collecting the sap then make a choice:  Allow Maurice to pray at the tree, or ignore him and cut the tree.

If you choose Maurice’s non-violent method, he’ll give you a sapling to bring back to Danica.  If you collect the sap yourself, a powerful band of Spriggans appears.  The green insect-like creatures will slaughter the two pilgrims below and more will attack from above.  Fight your way down the slope and say goodbye to Maurice as he will surely die during the skirmish.  Use ranged weapons to take out the Spriggan Matron rather than engaging her at the bottom.

Bring the sap (or sapling) back to Danica Pure-Spring in Whiterun to end the quest.  She lets you keep the Nettlebane and will now offer master training in Restoration magic. 

T H E   B O O K   O F   L O V E  

To get this quest, go to RIFTEN and enter the Temple of Mara.  Ask Dinya Balu if you can receive Mara’s blessing.  The priestess says one must earn the right by spreading love throughout Skyrim.  Agree to help lovers unite to begin this 3-part quest.

Help lovers in Ivarstead:

The first couple that needs help is in IVARSTEAD, which is west of Riften.  Go there and speak with a girl named Fastred, who wants to elope with Bassianus Axius over her parents’ objections.  Speak with Fastred’s parents to hear their side of the story.  Her mother is not opposed to the couple moving to Riften if makes her daughter happy.  Fastrid’s father, on the other hand, wants his fickle daughter to stay in town and marry Klimmek whom she had previously declared love for. 

At this point, you need to decide whether Fastred should stay in town with Klimmek, or elope to Riften with Bassianus.  Talk to whichever man you think is best suited for the girl.  If you pick Klimmek, convince him to confess his true feelings for Fastred and watch as he does so.  If you talk to Bassianus, convince him that mom will run interference with dad and watch as the couple departs for Riften.  Either way, return to Dinya Balu after uniting the lovers.  Speak with the priestess to get your next assignment.

Help lovers in Markarth:

An eccentric wizard in MARKARTH needs help stoking the flames of love.  Travel to Markarth and speak with Calcelmo in Understone Keep about his love life.  Calcelmo admits that he fancies the Jarl’s housecarl, Faleen, but has no idea how to talk to her.  Calcelmo thinks a bard named Yngvar will know what to say.  Locate Yngvar, who usually hangs out near Markarth’s inn.  Tell him about Calcelmo’s predicament and buy Yngvar’s love poem for 200 gold. 

Take the poem directly to Faleen and tell her it’s from Calcelmo.  Moved by the words, she gives you a letter to deliver to Calcelmo.  Bring it to the wizard then follow him as he dashes over to Faleen to declare his true love.  Return to Dinya Balu afterwards to get your final assignment.

Help two souls reunite after death:

For the last assignment, Dinya Balu wants you to reunite lovers that lost each other during battle.  To find the ghosts, put on the AMULET OF MARA she gives you.  Head to the location marked on your map.  GJUKAR’S MONUMENT is a small landmark on the plains west of Whiterun.  Approach it while wearing the amulet and you’ll see the ghost of Ruki waiting there.  Speak with Ruki to learn that her husband, Fenrig, went off to war and never returned.  Agree to locate Fenrig for her.

Head east towards the new quest marker to find the ghost of Fenrig standing near the river.  Tell Fenrig that Ruki is waiting for him.  Once he agrees to follow you, fast-travel back to Gjukar’s Monument to reunite the couple.  Watch as they ascend to the heavens, happy yet oblivious that they are dead.

Return to Dinya Balu.  For helping the three couples, she bestows you with the AGENT OF MARA blessing.  The active effect permanently increases your magic resistance by 15%.

T H E   F O R S W O R N    C O N S P I R A C Y  

When you enter MARKARTH for the first time, you’ll witness an attack near the vendor stalls.  If you react quickly, you can stop Weylin from killing Margret.  Saving her does not affect the quest, but you will receive an expensive necklace from Margret if you successfully intervene.  Whether you kill Weylin or the city guards do, a person named Eltrys hands you a note, claiming that you must have “dropped it”.  Read Eltrys’ note to begin the quest.

Go to the Shrine of Talos as requested in the note.  Speak with Eltrys inside to learn that the marketplace attack was carried out by Forsworn agents, the same group that killed his father.  Agree to help investigate the murder and follow up on clues in any order you wish.  To learn more about Margret, explore her room at the Silver-Blood Inn.  To learn more about Weylin, explore his room in the Warrens. 

To find evidence on Weylin, go down to the Warrens and talk to Garvey.  Persuade, bribe or brawl Garvey to get the key to Weylin’s room – or just lockpick the door.  Once inside, open a chest and read WEYLIN’S NOTE, which is cryptically signed with the letter ‘N’.  Upon exiting the Warrens, a mercenary named Dryston stops you.  Brawl Dryston and when he’s beat, ask who hired him.  He confesses that he was sent by Nepos the Nose, the infamous ‘N’ of course. 

If Margaret died and you took the key from her body, you can access her room at the inn directly.  If you don’t have a key, lockpick the door or pickpocket the innkeeper, Klepper, to get one.  Once you get inside her room, take MARGARET’S JOURNAL off the nightstand and read it to add a new objective: “Find evidence about Thonar Silver-Blood.”  Upon exiting the inn, a Markarth guard warns you to stop asking questions.  Ignore him and continue your investigation.

To investigate Nepos, go to his house and speak with him.  It soon becomes clear that he’s not letting you leave alive.  Exhaust all dialog options before fighting him.  Kill Nepos and his bodyguards, then loot his home.  Steal whatever you like and get the Illusion SKILLBOOK, “Mystery of Talara, Part 4” in one of the bedrooms.

To investigate Thonar, enter the Treasury House.  Convince Rhiada to give you the key to Thonar’s room (persuade, bribe or intimidate) or just pick the lock to find Thonar seated at his table.  You can pickpocket THONAR’S JOURNAL to learn the truth about him, or confront him directly.  Though he initially gives you little information, keep pressing Thonar until you hear a commotion outside.  When he leaves the room, grab the “unusual gem” (STONE OF BARENZIAH) near his bed, which is part of the Thieves Guild quest, “No Stone Unturned”. 

Watch as Forsworn invade the treasury, leaving Thonar’s wife dead.  Help rid the intruders or remain neutral – the choice is yours.  Speak with Thonar after the battle to learn that he’s been taking kickbacks from Madanach, the Forsworn leader.  When you exit the Treasury House, guards will stop you again.  This time, you must bribe them to let you pass.

Once you’ve investigated all of the clues, return to the Shrine of Talos.  Inside, you’ll find three Markarth guards standing over Eltrys’ dead body.  They intend to pin the crime on you.  Let them falsely arrest you.  Killing them only serves to delay the inevitable; more guards stop you upon exiting the Shrine.  Getting thrown in jail ends the current quest and automatically starts the side quest, “No One Escapes Cidhna Mines”. 

T H E   G O L D E N   C L A W  

When you first enter the general store in RIVERWOOD, you’ll overhear Lucan, the shop owner, and his sister arguing about a recent theft.  Ask Lucan what happened.  He’ll tell you bandits stole his Golden Claw and took it to Bleak Falls Barrow.  Agree to retrieve it for him to begin the quest.  You can also start it by going to Bleak Falls Barrow directly, or during the main quest, “Bleak Falls Barrow”.

BLEAK FALLS BARROW is in the mountains to the west of Riverwood.  Look for a trail leading up to a small tower in the snow.  Kill three bandits that guard the tower then go inside and explore.  On top, you’ll find a treasure chest.  The Barrow is just up the road from here.  Use the snowfall to conceal your ascent.  Dispose of a bandit and two archers that patrol the huge entrance.  After looting them, enter the barrow. 

Inside, you'll see a dead bandit and many dead skeevers, all of which you can loot.  Up ahead, two bandits are conversing near a campfire.  If you didn’t get the quest from Lucan, it’ll start here.  Take them out then lockpick the nearby chest.  Descend the stairs and continue along the path until you witness a man being darted to death while trying to activate a lever in a gated room.  Enter the room and look at the stone carvings along the balcony.  Two have symbols but one is broken.  To figure out which symbol should be on the broken one, examine the floor next to the lever.  On the left side of the room, you’ll find 3 corresponding stones.  Rotate them until the symbols match:  SNAKE / SNAKE / WHALE.  Once set, you can safely pull the lever to open the gate.

In the next area, read the Pickpocket SKILLBOOK (“Thief”) on the table and grab other goodies.  Kill some skeevers as you descend the spiral staircase and continue looting until you reach an archway covered with spider webs.  You’ll hear a man calling to you from inside.  Use fire magic or a weapon to clear the obstruction and save your game before entering the lair.

As soon as you step inside, a Wounded Frostbite Spider descends from the ceiling and attacks.  In addition to hitting hard, the giant spider drains your health and stamina by spitting poison.  If you’re good with a bow, this is the time to prove it.  Fire magic is effective so long as you don’t stand too close to a wall and burn yourself.  Use potions liberally.  If you exhaust your supply, dash out and recuperate before resuming the battle.

Once the giant spider is dead, loot it for some venom and raid the lair before talking to the fellow bound in webs.  Arvel the Swift says he’ll give you the Golden Claw if you cut him down, but his intentions seem false.  Since he’s blocking the doorway, you don’t really have a choice.  As soon as you hack the cobwebs away, Arvel predictably makes a run for it.  If you’re fast enough, you can kill him on the spot; otherwise chase him deeper into the tomb.

Once Arvel is dead, retrieve the GOLDEN CLAW from his body.  You need to use this quest item to reach the final chamber so wait before turning it over to Lucan in Riverwood.  Continue foraging for treasure as you proceed through the embalming room and walk down into the crypts. 

Mummies and skeletal bodies line the walls of the crypt but not all who rest here are dead.  Some of the Draugr will rise and attack.  Kill them quickly so they don’t gang up on you.  If you use a bow, you can identify the “live” ones pretty easily (they are not bone white) and pick them off while they are still asleep.  Loot all of the bodies afterwards.  To the left is a nasty floor trap.  If stepped on, a spiked wall will whack you in the face for some serious damage.  You can avoid the trap by going around the right side.  There are more Draugr to fight and tombs to loot in the next chamber.  Look for a treasure chest on top of some rubble as well.

To reach the next area, you need to dash through a hallway with swinging blades.  If you time it properly, you’ll make it through with minimal health loss.  After reaching safety, pull the chain on the wall to stop the blades.  Navigate through a series of small alcoves and kill any Draugr that are standing upright in the openings.  In one of the alcoves, there’s a big oil slick on the floor.  Torch it to damage multiple targets. 

You’ll eventually reach a small room with a stream running through it.  Slay the Draugr that emerges from a coffin as you enter.  Collect treasure from a chest then look for a chain near the edge of the stream.  Pull it to open the metal gate.  Follow the stream through a cavern where you can harvest Glowing Mushrooms, loot a skeleton, and open a chest.  If you peer over the edge of the waterfall you’ll see a Draugr patrolling the path below.  Snipe him then head down the path.

Before continuing forward, look for a ramp on the right that spirals down into the water.  Below you’ll find a chest and a skeleton to loot.  Walk back up and proceed to the next room.  The Restless Draugr inside is tougher than his brethren so it’ll take a few more hits to beat him.  There’s a partially obscured chest in this room.  Deplete its contents before entering the Sanctum. 

Navigate through another blade-filled hallway and pull the chain on the other side to stop them.  Do this quickly, as a Draugr rises from his coffin right next to the entrance.  There are more Draugr coming down the stairs.  Using a bow, you can shoot down a hanging lamp and ignite oil on the floor long before they reach you.  Loot the fallen then proceed upstairs.

At the end of a long corridor, you’ll find a circular door with an irregular keyhole and three rings that can be manipulated.  Each ring contains a series of pictures.  Assuming you still have the Golden Claw, open your inventory and examine the object.  Use the analog sticks to rotate and/or zoom in on the Claw to see three pictures etched on its palm.  Rotate the door rings to match.  From top to bottom, they should be:  BEAR / MOTH / OWL.  After inputting the correct sequence, place the Golden Claw in the keyhole to lower the door.

Enter the large cavern and head towards the raised altar in the middle.  As you get closer, chanting voices grow louder.  Examine the sheer wall next to the altar and a group of shadowy symbols will reveal itself.  When your vision returns to normal, you will have learned your first DRAGON SHOUT word, “FORCE” which is part of UNRELENTING FORCE. 

Your immediate concern is the Draugr Overlord that bursts out of the coffin next to the wall.  Hit him while he is still getting up and get ready for a tough boss battle.  The Draugr Overlord uses an axe enchanted with a cold spell, which will drain your stamina along with causing severe physical damage.  The Overlord has also learned “Unrelenting Force” and uses it to knock you back.  When the Dragon Shout hits you, it’ll take a few moments to stabilize.  Use a bow if for no other reason than to stay clear of his Shout.  Luckily the cavern is huge so you have room to run and heal if necessary.  Apart from that, fight him like any other Draugr.

When the boss is dead, loot his body to get the DRAGONSTONE, a key item for Whiterun’s wizard.  Collect excellent treasure from the chest and altar.  Explore both sides of the cavern before going upstairs.  There are chests near the water on the left and right.  When ready, go upstairs and activate a button on the wall to reveal the exit.  There’s another chest and an altar full of ingredients that you can take before going outside.

Return to Riverwood and give the Golden Claw to Lucan.  In addition to gold, he allows you to take many items from his shop for free.  This ends the quest.

T H E   H E A R T   O F   D I B E L L A  

To initiate this quest, go to MARKARTH and talk to a beggar named Degaine in the marketplace.  If he’s not there, you’ll find him in the Warrens or at the Inn.  Agree to steal a statue from the Temple of Dibella for him.  Enter the temple marked on your map and sneak over to the back door.  Lockpick the Inner Sanctum and sneak past three priestesses praying for a future “Sybil”.  If you can nab the STATUE OF DIBELLA for Degaine without getting caught, that’s great – but to trigger “The Heart of Dibella” quest, you need to intentionally get caught and speak to the temple’s leader, Mother Hamal.  Do not mention the statue.  Remain friendly and agree to do penance for the intrusion to add the quest to your journal.  If any of the priestesses turn hostile, reload your game and try again.

Hamal wants you to go to KARTHWASTEN to find the new Sybil.  To reach the town, head north from Markarth.  Ask anyone in Karthwasten about the young girl you’re looking for and they will direct you to Enmon, her father.  Speak with Enmon, a miner, to learn that his daughter, Fjorta, was captured by the Forsworn and taken to Broken Tower Redoubt.  Tell Enmon his daughter is the new Sybil of Dibella and he’ll ask to join you in the rescue.  Let him follow or tell him to wait in town.  If you decide to bring him along, you’ll have to work hard to protect Enmon as he can easily die.

Either way, head off to BROKEN TOWER REDOUBT, which is to the east.  The old fort is heavily guarded by Forsworn enemies, so fight your way through the courtyard and sneak inside.  In the first room, kill some Forsworn and grab potions from the side pantry.  Head upstairs, keeping an eye out for traps.  Raid the sleeping quarters above and look for a Block SKILLBOOK titled “The Mirror” on a nearby shelf.   Loot chests as you proceed.  Ignore the door to Skyrim and enter the side one instead.

Continue fighting Forsworn as you head upstairs.  One of the Forsworn will likely activate a tripwire that causes boulders to fall so be careful when ascending.  Use the door at the top of the tower to get back outside.  Walk over the second tower and face the Forsworn Briarheart inside.  The powerful mage uses ice magic that can freeze you in place.  Drinking potions that increase your frost resistance will help a great deal here.

After defeating the Briarheart, loot his body to get the prison key and explore the area.  Get the Conjuration SKILLBOOK, “Luminal Bridges” on a table and open a boss chest in the nearby bedroom.  On the dresser you’ll find a Shrine of Dibella.  Activating it cures any diseases you might have picked up and boosts Speech for 8 hours.  Once you’re finished exploring, enter the prison to rescue Fjorta. 

Use the key to unlock her cell.  Tell Fjorta she’s the new Sybil and she’ll agree to go back to Markarth with you.  If Enmon accompanied you and survived, father and daughter will have a sweet reunion.  If he remained in Karthwasten, optionally take a quick side trip there so that Fjorta can say goodbye to her parents.  When ready, escort Fjorta to the Temple of Dibella in Markarth.

Speak with Hamal, who directs you to kneel at the altar and drink from the blessed water.  Do so to receive the AGENT OF DIBELLA.  The active effect permanently increases melee damage dealt to members of the opposite sex.  Completing this quest also allows you to take many nice things from the temple.  Inside one of the rooms, you’ll find the Illusion SKILLBOOK, “2920, Sun’s Dawn, v2”.  Hamal also offers master Enchanting training now, should you desire it.

T H E   L E G E N D   O F   R E D   E A G L E  

Though this quest is considered “miscellaneous”, I’ve added it to the side quest section due to its length and multiple locations.  To trigger it, read the book, “The Legend of Red Eagle”.  Copies can be found all over Skyrim.  After reading the book, a miscellaneous objective is added to your journal: "Find Red Eagle's sword."  

To find the sword, head east from Markarth and look for a sprawling Forsworn encampment called RED EAGLE’S REDOUBT.  The camp can be accessed from the top or bottom and is filled with enemies.  Your goal is at the top but there’s much treasure to be had by exploring all of the levels.  Fight hordes of Forsworn enemies as you make your way up to an iron door.  Note that you can bypass the entire Red Eagle’s Ascent interior simply by scaling the side of the mountain to get to the altar on top. 

If you choose to explore the cave, fight enemies, loot chests, and avoid numerous traps as you head through.  Use the door on top to get outside, emerging in another section of the Redoubt camp.  Kill Forsworn enemies as you climb higher.  Beware of a frost mage that ambushes you from one of the tents.  She’s wicked tough and summons Atronachs to help her fight.  Search the campsite to find a locked chest and the Alteration SKILLBOOK, “Reality and Other Falsehoods”.

At the end of the camp is a set of stairs.  Kill guards posted below then sneak up and kill the Forsworn Briarheart working at the altar.  Once he’s dead, loot his body to acquire a key and the sword, RED EAGLE’S FURY.  If he’s not wielding the weapon, take it from the altar.  Upon finding Red Eagle’s Fury, you get a new objective: “Unlock the secret of Red Eagle’s Tomb.” 

Loot a chest in the Briarheart’s tent then unlock the door behind his throne.  There are no enemies inside the SUNDERED TOWERS, so casually explore.  Pull a chain to lower the drawbridge and walk across to the second tower.  Look for a locked chest as you descend.  Unbar the iron door and exit to the fields.  Follow the quest marker east to REBEL’S CAIRN.

Once inside, follow the tunnel into an opening with a pedestal in the center.  Place Red Eagle’s Fury in the slot to open the back wall.  Walk downstairs to reach a huge chamber.  Sneak across the room and fight Red Eagle when he bursts out of his coffin.  Some skeletons accompany the powerful boss, but they will all fall once Red Eagle is defeated.  In addition to strong physical attacks, Red Eagle uses a “disarm” Shout that will knock the weapon right out of your hands.  If this happens, either dash around the room to find it or equip an alternate weapon.  If you brought a follower with you, let them distract the boss up close while you shoot arrows from afar.

After defeating Red Eagle, loot his body to get the HONED ANCIENT GREATSWORD OF BURNING and open the boss chest behind his coffin to collect some nice treasure.  Backtrack to the pedestal room and take the sword from its holder to see that it has transformed into RED EAGLE’S BANE.  Although this completes the quest, reading any other copy of “The Legend of Red Eagle” starts it all over again.  You cannot kill Red Eagle more than once, but I suppose you could ravage the Forsworn camp unlimited times if you really wanted to.

T H E   L O S T   E X P E D I T I O N

To get this quest, go to Markarth and speak with Calcelmo in UNDERSTONE KEEP.  The court wizard will be working near the excavation site on the left.  Ask Calcelmo if you can explore the excavation site and he’ll tell you its guarded by a big spider named Nimhe.  Agree to kill the spider for Calcelmo to add a miscellaneous (and unrelated) favor quest.

Follow the path behind Calcelmo to reach the NCHUAND-ZEL EXCAVATION SITE.  Kill little spiders and mine ore as you pass through.  Nimhe is in the last chamber.  After defeating the big spider, investigate the web-filled ledge to find Alethius’ corpse.  Read his journal to begin “The Lost Expedition” side quest.  To discover what happened to the expedition, cut through cobwebs behind Alethius to reveal a door.  When ready, enter the Dwarven ruins of NCHUAND-ZEL.

Your first objective is to recover Stromm’s Journal.  Watch out for floor traps as you head down the hallway and emerge into a huge multi-leveled cavern.  Be aware that Nchuand-Zel is heavily populated by Falmer enemies that are best dealt with stealthily.  Sneak across the upper walkway and take out any Falmers you see with a bow, including ones posted below.  At the end of the walkway, enter Nchuand-Zel Quarters.

Kill Falmers in the hallway and proceed to a set of stairs where you can continue forward or go down.  Proceed straight ahead first.  When you reach a second set of stairs, look for an adept-locked door on the right.  Loot the room then sneak down the stairs and kill a group of Falmers below.  Follow the lower corridors around to a door that leads to a balcony with a chest.  After collecting its contents, return to the hallway and loot the room on the left for more items.  Now backtrack to the first set of stairs and head down.

Below, fight more Falmers then continue upstairs.  Avoid the alcove with the tree as it contains a rune trap.  Instead, investigate the table on the right to find STROMM’S DIARY.  You’ll see the researcher’s corpse lying on the ground next to it.  When you pick up the diary, your questlog tasks you with finding three more belonging to Erj, Krag, and Staubin.  Quest markers will direct you through the ruins in the most logical fashion, but you can find them in any order you wish. 

From Stromm’s area, enter the living quarters on the left.  Collect Dwemer artifacts and rest on one of the stone beds if you wish then return to the hallway.  The torture room at the end contains nothing of value, so backtrack to the door where you first entered the Quarters.  Exit to the walkway overlooking the large cavern.  Take the ramps down to the very bottom, killing any Falmer that remain in the cavern.  Swim over to the door and enter the Nchuand-Zel Armory.

Inside, you can either go straight or up stairs.  Head through the corridor first, killing Falmers as needed, until you reach an adept-locked gate.  Pick it then go upstairs to find Erj’s corpse.  Loot him to recover ERJ’S NOTES and open the nearby chest.  As soon as you do, two Dwarven Spheres unfurl and attack.  Kill the constructs and loot their remains then unlock the gated side rooms.  The left one contains a chest.  Unlocking the gate across from it earns you a full set of Dwarven armor.  Fight Falmer that arrive as you unlock the last gated treasure room.

Avoid a pressure plate trap in the next corridor as well as a flame trap at the top of the stairs.  Proceed to a split in the path.  Head right and kill the patrolling Falmer.  Beyond him are the stairs you saw when you first entered the Armory.  Take the other route back out to the main cavern.  Emerging in another part of Nchuand-Zel, you’ll immediately discover Krag’s body near a bedroll on the walkway.  Retrieve KRAG’S JOURNAL then walk up the ramp to a door.  Enter Nchuand-Zel Control.

Defeat Falmer as you head down the hallway.  Watch out for a dart trap as you approach the ramp.  Kill the Falmers patrolling above, while avoiding a floor plate that causes spikes to drop from the ceiling.  At the end of the hallway, head left to find Staubin’s body.  Take STAUBIN’S DIARY to get a new objective: Re-activate Nchuand-Zel’s defenses. 

Continue upstairs and fight four Dwarven constructs on top.  Falmer may join the battle if you didn’t defeat them earlier.  Loot the destroyed parts then proceed to the end where you’ll find a table and a chest.   Gather items then pull the lever above the table to complete the objective.  Pulling the lever also opens a side door.  Get the chest inside then backtrack to the metal catwalk.  Jump down to the lower floor and follow the path back out to the central cavern.

Upon re-entering the cavern, you’ll see Falmer fighting a massive Dwarven Centurion, as well as other mechanical enemies.  Join the fray so that you can loot the Centurion for valuable items.  Although your questlog tells you to find someone who knows about the expedition, the marker will incorrectly point to the Armory.  To fix this bug, uncheck the current quest in your journal and check any other quest to correctly point to the exit.  Leave the cavern by ascending the leftmost ramp.  When you reach the top, hop down to the doorway and return to the Excavation Site where you killed Nimhe the spider.   

Make your way back to Understone Keep and speak with Calcelmo.  Tell him about the journals and he’ll give you gold as a reward for finding them.  This ends the quest.  Let Calcelmo know that you killed Nimhe the spider as well.

T H E   M A N   W H O   C R I E D   W O L F 

To initiate this quest, go to the BLUE PALACE in Solitude.  Once there, walk upstairs to hear a man addressing the court about problems in Wolfskull Cave.  When the conversation ends, talk to the Jarl’s steward, Falk Firebeard.  Agree to clear out the cave for him to begin the quest.

WOLFSKULL CAVE is located in the foothills west of Solitude.  Go there and fight skeletons guarding the entrance.  After taking care of them, enter the ruins and sneak through to the second room, where you’ll find a patrolling Draugr.  Kill it then proceed to a junction where you can take a higher or lower path.  Take the upper path and sneak up on two necromancers sitting near a campfire.  Shoot them down then wait for other enemies (Draugr and/or mages) to come out of the nearby door.  Take them out the same way.  Enter the wooden door and go downstairs into a room with several enemies, including a Frost Atronach.  After killing them, drop down into the center pit.  Below, follow the passage to Wolfskull Ruins.

Head north into a large opening filled with swirling blue energy and the sound of chanting coming from the tower beyond.  From the overlook where you stand, you can either jump across rubble on the right or take the western path to the bottom.  Either way, kill necromancers and Draugrs on patrol as you proceed towards the tower.  Sneak up the stairs, killing foes at each landing.  Take advantage of a hanging fire pot to torch a few enemies along the way.

At the top of the tower, you ‘ll find a group of necromancers performing a ritual designed to bind the wolf queen, Potema.  Kill all of them, including the boss-level Ritual Master.  Once they’re dead, loot the bodies and search the altar to get the Light-Armor SKILLBOOK, “The Refugees”.  Pull the nearby lever to lower a drawbridge.  Go across to find a chest and a staircase leading down.  Follow it to a door, providing a shortcut out of Wolfskull Cave.

Return to the Blue Palace to pick up your reward from Falk Firebeard.  Upon completing the quest, you’re one step closer to becoming the Jarl’s Thane.  After a few days have passed, expect to receive a letter from Falk Firebeard (via courier) asking for your help once again.

T H E   P A L E   L A D Y  

To get this quest, travel to FROSTMERE CRYPT, which is south of Dawnstar and slightly west from the Hall of the Vigilant.  Upon reaching the crypt, you’ll see bandits fighting one of their own members.  Help the woman defeat her attackers.  Speak with Eisa Blackthorn afterwards to learn that she was unjustly blamed for stealing the leader’s sword.  If she dies during the attack, you can loot her journal to discover the same thing.  Either way, Eisa will not be joining you.  Enter the crypt to begin “The Pale Lady” quest.

Your objective is to find the stolen sword and optionally discover why it was taken.  At the bottom of the stairs, two bandits are seated at a table talking about the theft.  After listening in, sneak down and fight them, along with a mage in the alcove on the right.  Loot the room then pull a chain to open the back gate.  Follow the passageway to a fork.  The barred door on the right cannot be accessed yet, so head left.

Carefully sneak across the caged walkway and spy on bandits chatting below to add the optional objective:  “Follow Kyr and Ra’jiir into the tunnels.”  Kill a bandit on the other side then unlock the room he was guarding to collect some goodies.  Moving forward, be on the lookout for a Sneak SKILLBOOK titled, “The Red Kitchen Reader”.  Enter the room on the left to find a chest and KYR’S LOG.  In the next room, look for RA’JIIR’S NOTE and EISA’S JOURNAL.   Reading all of the texts completes the optional part of the quest. 

Now head left, taking out any foes that impede your progress.  Pull a lever at the end then return to the room where you heard bandits chatting.  Cross the drawbridge you just lowered and fight a bandit on the other side.  Jump down and head to the door.  Save your game before entering Frostmere Depths.

As soon as you enter the dark glade, you’ll see Kyr dying.  Listen to his final words then move forward to see Ra’jiir fighting the Pale Lady and her Wisp offspring.  The wispmother wins and now you have a choice to make:  Either banish the Pale Lady or appease her.

If you want to appease the Pale Lady, do not attack her.  Instead, loot the Pale Sword from Ra’jiir’s body and place it on the altar stand where it belongs.  The Pale Lady will be grateful and leave with her offspring.  Do not remove the sword after putting it in its holder, or it will trigger the quest all over again.

If you want to keep the weapon, kill the Pale Lady and her offspring, then loot the PALE SWORD from Ra’jiir’s body.  Note that while fighting her, she’ll duplicate herself in order to trick you.  The Wisps and the clones will evaporate once the Pale Lady dies.

Whether you complete the quest by taking the sword or leaving it, explore the dark cavern for valuable treasure.   Look for a path branching off to the left.  Follow it past a fallen tree where you’ll find a skeleton holding a leveled weapon and shield.  Hike up the rocks to reach a master-locked chest then take the path on the right up to a word wall.  Read it to learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “ICE FORM”.  Continue upstairs to find a boss chest near the door.  Enter.

Avoid a pressure plate trap at the top of the stairs then walk under the stone archway to a pool of water.  Jump in and explore the submerged room to find an adept-locked chest.  Back on dry land, move forward and unbar the door to take a shortcut out of the crypt.

T H E   W H I T E   P H I A L  

To trigger this quest, go to WINDHELM and enter the White Phial alchemy shop.  Inside, you’ll hear Nurelion arguing with his assistant, Quintus.  When it ends, ask Nurelion what’s troubling him and he’ll tell you that he’s discovered the location of a coveted vessel but is too weak to retrieve it.  Agree to find the White Phial in Forsaken Cave to begin the quest.  The ailing alchemist hands you NURELION’S MIXTURE to use when you get there.

To reach FORSAKEN CAVE, head west from Windhelm.  Enter the frozen hollow and head down the slope.  Fight snow bears and/or wolves as you make your way over to a door.  Descend the spiral staircase to reach a Draugr-filled tomb.  The chest ahead is trapped.  Open it from the side to avoid getting pelted with poison.  Continue into a burial chamber and fight Draugr that rise from their slumber.  As you head through the tunnels, look for a Block SKILLBOOK called “The Mirror” and unlock the nearby door to access a chest.

Enter a large burial chamber filled with flame traps and defeat patrolling Draugrs as well as ones that emerge from slabs.  Loot the room and look for a hidden chest before entering the next tunnel.  Beware of a floor plate triggering a battering ram and collect loose items off shelves as you pass through.  Enter the door at the end to reach the Forsaken Crypt.

Kill Draugrs on the bottom floor then go through the narrow tunnel to reach the bridge above.  Fight more Draugrs and cross the bridge to face a more powerful Draugr guarding a chest.  Claim its contents and loot shelves as you ascend to a higher level.  In the next room, fight two Draugr while avoiding the center circle, which rises to a spiked ceiling.  Once the enemies are taken care of, unlock a door to reach a chest then continue through the other door.

Cross a bridge, clearing the path of Draugrs, until you reach another iron door.  Opening it activates swinging blades.  Save your game before dashing through.  On the other side, Curalmil bursts out of his coffin with a team of powerful Draugr.  Depending on your level, the boss will use Shouts to freeze or disarm you, so be careful when fighting up close. 

After defeating the group, approach the wall in back to learn a new word in the Dragon Shout, “MARKED FOR DEATH” and open the boss chest next to it.  Enter the doorway below the word wall to find an Ancient Bowl.  Place Nurelion’s Mixture in the bowl to lower a stone slab.  Go inside and take the CRACKED WHITE PHIAL off its pedestal.  Loot the rest of the room to get a ton of ingredients, as well as the Alchemy SKILLBOOK, “A Game At Dinner”.  Return to the main chamber and use the iron door on the left to quickly exit the dungeon.

Return to Windhelm and give the damaged phial to Nurelion.  He’ll accuse you of breaking it and offers a measly 5 gold for your efforts before retiring to his bed.  Speak with Quintus, who apologizes for his master’s behavior and gives you 500 gold.  This ends the quest.

Once you've visited the Throat of the World during the main questline, expect to receive a note from Quintus (delivered by courier) after finishing “The White Phial” quest.  He will ask for your help in repairing the phial, which starts a new side quest.

T H E   W O L F   Q U E E N   A W A K E N E D  

In order to get this quest, you must first complete “The Man Who Cried Wolf” side quest then wait until you’ve gained a level.  Once you’ve met the criteria, a courier will deliver a message from Falk Firebeard asking to meet with you.  Go to the Blue Palace in Solitude and speak with Falk to learn that the Wolf Queen, Potema, is still posing a threat.  Falk wants you to go see Styrr in the Hall of the Dead.  Follow the quest marker and speak with the priest inside.  Styr wants you to gather Potema’s remains so that he can bless them.  If you agree to help, Styr will hand you a key to Potema’s Catacombs and the quest begins.

Go to the Temple of the Divines near the city’s main entrance.  Once inside, ignore the misleading quest marker that points to an empty wall.  Instead, approach the shrines and look for a narrow opening on the left.  Go through and turn left again to get down to the basement.  Proceed until you reach an iron gate.  Use the key that Styr gave you to enter Potema’s Catacombs.

Walk downstairs and approach the wolf statue in front of the barred door.  After Potema speaks to you, the bars lower.  Defeat the Draugr up ahead then head right to reach an area covered in cobwebs.  Cut through them and loot a chest near the staircase on the left.  Open another chest on top then take the lower path into a small room.  Beyond is a much larger room guarded by Draugrs as well as a Vampire Nightstalker.

Kill the archer on the balcony then shoot down a fire pot to ignite enemies below.  Kill any survivors and loot the room.  In particular, look for the Lockpicking SKILLBOOK, “Surfeit of Thieves” on a table.  Walk down to a shut gate and kill the Draugr patrolling on the left.  The Draugr standing in the wall alcove will not harm you but the fire trap in front of him will.  Look for a switch around the corner that opens the gate you just passed.

Go downstairs and snipe the Draugr in the wall alcove below.  Enter the door and fight more Draugrs as you head through the hall.  Take stairs up to the higher level and follow the path across to a cavern.  A Nightstalker patrols the corridor at the bottom of the stairs.  After killing it, head left to reach a tiered area with water.  Fight Draugrs that emerge from the water and watch out for a spiked wall trap as you head through the doorway.

Proceed into a cavern with more water and kill Draugrs standing on the right.  The chest on the left is trapped so move to the side when opening it.  Locate the lever that activates a set of revolving doorways.  As the stone panels turn, they reveal gates that briefly remain open, so you need to time your dash to get through the whole series of them.  Save your game beforehand since you can get stuck in between with no way out.  After getting through safely, loot the alchemy room then enter Potema’s Refuge.

Follow the tunnel to an opening and kill a leveled Draugr on your left.  Veer right to reach a room with three switches that open another revolving doorway.  Before using the switches, check the room on the right and kill the vampire inside.  Look behind the coffin to discover a lever.  Pull it to reveal a hidden chest.  Return to the switch room afterwards.  Keep pulling the levers until all gates are open and the path forward is clear. 

In the next room, soul gems shoot fireballs at you so quickly grab them or knock them off their pedestals to stop the flames.  To the left, are stairs leading to a door.  Inside, kill the Draugr Deathlord resting on the throne as well as a vampire.  Loot the vampire to get a key.  Unlock the double doors and head down to Potema’s Sanctum.

Follow the corridor to a door.  Kill a vampire inside the burial chamber before she has a chance to raise others.  Defeat several Draugrs that awaken in the next room, as well as a skeleton patrolling the hallway.  Enter the room on the left and loot all of the dead Draugrs.  In particular, remove weapons from their bodies even if you don’t want to keep them – for Potema will speak to you here and resurrect the dead.  The weaponless squad of Draugrs will be much easier to kill.  After the battle, drop any weapons you don’t want to keep then enter the iron door. 

Inside the next chamber, you’ll see Potema swirling in the energy above.  Once again, she’ll ask you to join her dead council.  When you decline, she raises powerful Draugrs to fight you.  The purple energy field can be difficult to see through so watch out for back attacks.  Every so often, Potema will send a shock wave through the room that can seriously injure you, so dash away when you see it coming.  Fight the mass of Draugrs knowing that Potema will respawn them if you take too long to kill her.  Ranged sneak attacks are most effective against her.

Once she’s down, kill the remaining foes then approach Potema’s remains.  As her spirit vacates her body, she attacks.  Kill Potema’s Ghostly Remains, along with any helpers she summons.  Loot her enchanted weapon afterwards then go up to the throne.  Take POTEMA’S SKULL off the throne and open the nearby boss chest.  Among the fine treasures is the Sneak SKILLBOOK, “The Legend of Kratley House”. 

Go through the back door and fight another Draugr at the top of the stairs.  In the next room, defeat two Draugrs that rise from thrones when you remove a Dwarven Helmet off its pedestal.  Use the door to get out to a ledge overlooking the mountains.  Open a chest there then fast-travel back to Solitude.

Upon returning to the city, stop by the Hall of the Dead and give Potema’s remains to Styrr.  Now report to Falk Firebeard in the Blue Palace to receive your reward and end the quest.  Note that completing this quest brings you one step closer to Thaneship.  You can now speak with Jarl Elisif directly to see what she needs done.

U N F A T H O M A B L E   D E P T H S  

After reaching level 14, travel to RIFTEN and go down to the docks.  Walk around until you bump into an Argonian woman named From-Deepest-Fathoms that pleads for your help.  Agree to return a cursed item to Avanchnzel for her.  The "Unfathomable Depths" quest begins upon receiving the LEXICON.

To reach the Dwarven ruins of AVANCHNZEL, head west from Riften.   Once there, look for a cave-like opening in the cliff.  Go inside and approach four orange figures talking about stealing the Lexicon.  As you watch memories of a past event, you’ll see that From-Deepest Fathoms is among them.  When the figures disappear, move forward and kill two Dwarven Spiders on patrol.  Proceed through the empty halls until you reach a door. 

Inside the multi-leveled chamber, the orange spirits appear again.  Follow them across the stone bridge to a door.  The ramp on the left leads to the Avanchnzel Balcony and a barred door.  Ultimately return to the lower door and enter.  Pass through a grated hallway full of steam, fighting off Dwarven Spheres and Spiders that patrol the area.  As you head down, unlock a side gate to access a Dwemer chest.  Below, is a door leading back inside the main chamber.

Under the bridge now, use ranged attacks to kill four Dwarven Spiders patrolling the lower floor.  Walk down and enter the southern door to collect some treasure.  Now enter the eastern door to witness another scene with the orange crew.  Check the left alcove for a chest then proceed to the Avanchnzel Animoncultory. 

Move forward and kill mechanical foes that emerge in the opening.  After defeating them, walk over to the locked gate on the right to see a scene with the orange thieves complaining that they can’t pick the lock.  Show them how it’s done and collect the treasure inside.  Go upstairs and look for a chest on the right as you proceed through the corridors to an abandoned campsite.  Approach the tents and watch the orange crew bickering with each other. 

When they disappear, continue along the corridor until you reach a gated room on the right.  Be extremely careful when unlocking this trapped door.  The spinning blades it springs can instantly kill you.  Inside, you’ll find a chest as well as the Restoration SKILLBOOK, “Racial Phylogeny”.  Moving on, you’ll arrive in a large Dwemer storage area.  Kill patrolling Spiders, use the alchemy lab, and loot all of the shelves as you pass through.

Walk down the ramp to a door.  Enter to face more mechanical enemies and unlock two side rooms to access treasures inside.  Head west into the next chamber where you’ll observe two orange spirits slaying Dwarven constructs.  When they disappear, loot the remains then go through the door to reach a balcony overlooking a large assembly room filled with Dwarven Spiders.  Archers can jump onto the tall metal shelving and take out all of the enemies without ever being touched.  If that’s not your style, go down and slaughter them.  Thoroughly loot the room afterwards, especially the two giant Centurions lying on slabs. 

Take the northern staircase up to the next area.  Walk down the slope to find Drennan’s corpse, an indication that not all orange team members survived.  Moving on, loot shelving and look for a chest on the lower one.  As you turn the corner, you’ll see the orange crew and witness Drennan’s futile escape.  Follow the remaining ghosts into the Avanchnzel Boilery where their memories continue. 

After they disappear, head through the steamy tunnel and kill a Dwarven Sphere on the ramp.  Walk down and raid more shelves.  One of them is packed with ingots.  Watch a final scene by the door then go inside to find a ramp full of steam pistons and spinning blades.  Navigate past them without dying.  Below, you’ll find Watches-the-Roots dead near the door.  A nearby switch stops the blades, useful if you brought a follower along. 

Open the door and sneak inside.  To the left is a huge Dwarven Centurion that awakens as soon as you approach.  Use ranged shots to take it down.  After the battle, explore the room.  Loot the Centurion as well as one collapsed near Breya’s corpse.  Place the Lexicon in its receptacle to end the quest.  Completing it, grants you ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE, a permanent effect that gives you a 25% bonus when wearing Dwarven armor and Blacksmithing increases 15% faster.

To exit the ruins, go through the door behind the receptacle and ride the elevator up to Avanchnzel.  Fight a few minor enemies as you head to the barred door you passed much earlier.  Unbar it to reach the Avanchnzel Balcony.  Unlock the chest outside before leaving.

 

 

 

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