Online:The Grip of Madness

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ON-qico-Instance.png Discover why a town's citizens are killing each other.
Zone: Grahtwood
Faction: Aldmeri Dominion
Objective: Required for Cadwell's Almanac Southpoint — Save Southpoint from madness.
Quest Giver: Soldier Garion, Captain Elonthor
Location(s): Southpoint, Cathedral of the Golden Path
Concurrent Quest: Fit to Rule
Reward: Sheogorath's Choice
1 Skill Point
Very High Leveled Gold
XP Gain: 2940
Solo Solo Only: Partly (as indicated)
Southpoint is under Daedric influence


Southpoint's citizens are killing one another in the streets. Dominion soldiers cordoned off the town, but are in dire need of assistance.


Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Talk to Captain Elonthor.
  2. Talk to Daraneth and find the missing scouts.
  3. Distract the bears.
  4. Get into the laboratory.
  5. Enter the cathedral.
  6. Confront the mayor.
  7. Escape the catacombs.
  8. Confront the mayor again.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

City Under Quarantine[edit]

When you approach Southpoint, Soldier Garion runs out to stop you from entering the village:

"Southpoint is currently off-limits. You'll need to keep back, for your own safety."
What happened?
"The citizens of Southpoint are killing each other in the streets. It's ... I've seen nothing like it.
Captain Elonthor may need help evacuating survivors. You'll find him by the road, outside the town."
I'll speak to your captain.

When you talk to Captain Elonthor, he will repeat the warning Garion gave you:

"Turn back, citizen. Southpoint is ... I don't know what to call it, exactly."
What happened?
"I sent three of my best scouts into Southpoint to answer that very question, but none returned.
Until I know their fates, I can't request reinforcements. But I won't send anyone else inside until I know what happened to my scouts. You see my predicament,"
What if I found your scouts?
"I certainly won't stop you.
One of Southpoint's citizens also offered to help find the scouts, but she seemed a bit ... eccentric. Perhaps she has something to offer beyond alarming theories."
I'll speak with her.
"You should know Daraneth has some sort of position in Elden Root. Seems to think her reputation precedes her. No need to kiss the hem of her robes, but she's far less prickly if you show her some respect."
I'll keep that in mind.
"Last I saw Daraneth, she was taking shelter in one of the tents.
I could do without this damnable rain. It's been storming since we arrived, and it shows no sign of letting up."

At this point, you can ask Elonthor more questions:

Can I ask you some questions?
"Ask what you will."
What do you think is happening in Southpoint?
"I don't care to speculate."
Why not?
"I can only act upon what I know.
It's apparent that the townsfolk have caused harm to themselves and others within Southpoint. Yes, it seems they've all gone mad. But until I know for certain, all I can do is hope to contain it."
How long has Southpoint been like this?
"Strange reports arrived in Elden Root a week ago. Little things, people acting oddly. But when a Southpoint guard delivered his own severed tongue to the Altmer Embassy, someone noticed.
If we weren't spread so thin, we'd have been here earlier."
Why are you spread so thin?
"General Endare pulled her entire company from the Haven and left for parts unknown. In her absence, we've filled the gaps.
I tried to commandeer forces from the Gray Mire, but the Thalmor Inner Council considers Argonian refugees a greater threat. In their wisdom."
What can you tell me about Southpoint?
"Centuries ago it was an Imperial stronghold, but now it's known as a sleepy coastal town with a big cathedral.
You'll find mostly Colovians who've been here for generations and a handful of Wood Elves who don't pay much heed to the Green Pact."

Once you are finished speaking with Elonthor, whether you further question him or not, Daraneth will walk away from her tent, saying "Did someone call my name?" Speak to her to learn what she suspects to be the cause of the madness:

"Did Captain Elonthor send you to mock me? Did you come to tell me I don't know the work of a Daedric Prince when I see one?"
Daedric Prince? What Daedric Prince?
"Isn't it obvious? Madness swept through Southpoint like a plague, and so quickly! Only one Daedric Prince has such power."
Sheogorath.
"No, it's ... Wait, yes, that's it exactly! The Daedric Prince of Madness himself, here in Southpoint.
It's all rather exciting, isn't it?"
You don't seem concerned about Southpoint.
"I'm exceptionally concerned. It is my home, after all. But I'd rather show my concern by doing something about the problem.
The Captain wanted to find his scouts, didn't he? We should get going!"
You want to come with me?
"Of course! You need someone who knows the town, and I need someone with whom to take a stroll in this lovely rain.
No use arguing, I've been getting my way since before you were born. Or do you want a sweet old woman to show more courage than you?"
Conservator Daraneth, from the Orrery?
"Yes? What of it?"
You're needed in Elden Root for the ratification ceremony.
"Actually, I'm needed in Southpoint. Unless the queen prefers it left to the whims of a Daedric Prince, she can wait."


Finding the Scouts[edit]

You can enter the city through a break in the wall northwest of Elonthor. The scouts are in three different houses inside the city, and the streets are filled with the deranged citizens of Southpoint, who are all hostile towards you.

The closest house to the entrance is Vylie's House. You and Daraneth search the house but find no scout. You can talk to Vylie, however:

"Southpoint was such a grimy place. The new mayor is really cleaning things up, don't you agree?
I'm looking for some Dominion scouts. Have you seen them?
"Dominion? Southpoint is no longer part of the Dominion. The mayor decreed it.
If Dominion scouts marched their muddy boots onto our streets, we'd truss them all up!"
Aren't you concerned about the killing in the streets?
People are killing each other in the streets.
"Killing? Oh, do you mean the cleaning brigades?
Don't you worry about them. They're simply doing what they must to make Southpoint sparkle."
You should get out of here.
"Oh, no. I can't leave my home until it's entirely clean.
Besides, the mayor said none of us can leave, and we all know what happens when we don't listen to the mayor."
What happens?
"You're trussed up, or you're thrown in the catacombs.
Either way, you deserve it for disobeying the mayo. He's a just man, a righteous man. We should heed his words, every one of them."


The Southpoint Inn is west of Vylie's House, just to the right of it when you leave. Go up the stairs to enter. There are no scouts here either. You can talk to Ennis:

"I do apologize, but I can't speak right now. I must prepare the beds for their arrival."
Whose arrival?
"The Eight Divines, of course. I won't be caught with unmade beds!"
I'm looking for some Dominion scouts.
"I saw a few Dominion soldiers a few hours ago. I believe the mayor promised their meat to the Wood Elves, but I could be wrong.
There were sheets to wash."
What do you mean?
"The Wood Elves are going to eat their hearts, I imagine. It's what they do, isn't it? East the hearts of their enemies?
But if you'll excuse me, I need to prepare for their arrival."

The final house, Pixot's House, is to the south. You can talk to Pixot, though all he says is "The fire warms us when we're cold, but burns us when we're close. No matter how much you feed it, its hunger never ends. The fire is sublime."

Of more interest is Lieutenant Hervarion, who is tied up in the corner:

"It's not time yet! The mayor said you can't eat me until dinner!"
We're here to free you, not eat you.
"Praise Arkay! This entire town has gone mad. We should have informed Captain Elonthor immediately, but I insisted we press on.
If we'd fallen back, maybe my scouts would still be themselves."
What do you mean?
"The mad people brought us to their "mayor." I don't know how he did it, but he turned my scouts into bears. Bears!
I thought he'd do the same to me, but he changed his mind. Said the townsfolk should have me for dinner!"
What can you tell me about the mayor?
"He locked himself in that big cathedral. Saw the doors flare up briefly, glowing as bright as the sky, and then it faded. Magic keeps them shut, I'm sure of it.
I've had enough of this place. Please, untie me. I need to warn Captain Elonthor."
All right, I'll untie you.

At this point, he runs off with the words "I'm getting out of here. I recommend you do the same."

Bear Hunting and Daraneth's Scroll[edit]

Talk to Daraneth:

"Soldiers turned into bears? People setting themselves on fire? And now a mad mayor, locked in a cathedral!
I know I should be horrified, but it all sounds so exciting."
What can we do about those scouts?
"Hmm? Oh, I suppose I can reverse the effects of the mayor's magic. After many, many years of honing my craft, this should be a simple matter.
But if we're hunting bears, I'll need you to be the bait."
You want me to be the bait?
"I'm an old woman! And such magic requires precision. Wrestling with bears impedes precision.
Slap them about their faces, throw sticks at them, call them harsh names. However you must, keep their attention while I do the complex part."
What can we do about the mayor?
"I have an old scroll tucked away in my basement laboratory. If we have it in hand, it won't matter how tightly he's locked that cathedral door.
But first we should rid Southpoint of its bear problem. Shall we?"
Let's go.
Daraneth turning one of the Dominion Scouts

One bear is in the tower south of Pixot's House. You only need to fight for a few seconds, then the bear will turn back into a scout. The second scout, Scout Malvir, is to the north by the water.

Daraneth's house is across the water. When you enter, a storm appears inside the house, causing area of effect lightning damage if you aren't careful. Talk to Daraneth outside her house:

"We won't make it inside my laboratory unless we can stop the lightning."
This storm isn't natural. How can we stop it?
"If someone conjured this storm, they'd do it from somewhere they could see everything in Southpoint.
There's an old Colovian tower nearby. It's the highest point in the town, aside from the cathedral."
Let's check the tower.
Find the source of the lightning strikes

Climb the wooden docks and head to the tower, while avoiding the lightning. At the top of the tower is Rufinus, yelling "You get the lightning! Now you get the lightning!". You will have to listen to his ranting before trying to stop him:

"What are you doing here? I don't know you."
Are you causing all of this?
"So what if I am? They called me an angry drunk, said I'd never amount to anything. But now I have the lightning, and I'll give it to anyone who makes me mad!
Shut your mouth and walk away, or you'll get the lightning. Just like all the others."
You need to end this storm.
"I don't need to listen to this. I'll show you, like I did them. Nobody pushes Rufinus around!"

At this point, you can either push him off the tower, or try to reason with him:

Be reasonable. We can discuss this.
"Think you can talk down to me? I'll roast you on a lightning spit!
Your lungs will fry so fast they pop like kernels in a skillet. I'll make your eyes burst out of your face! You aren't better than me!"

Again, you will have the option to push him off, and this time reasoning with him requires the persuasion perk from the Mages Guild skill line:

[Persuade] It sounds like the person you're angriest with is yourself.
"What are you talking about?"
You're angry because you blame others for your own failings. You hate the person you've become.

He will break out of dialogue, realizing that he is the source of his problems. He will be struck by lightning, much to Daraneth's amusement.

Return to Daraneth's house and open the door on the ground to the laboratory. Take the Old Scroll from the desk, then head to the cathedral. Use the scroll on the cathedral door, then enter the Cathedral of the Golden Path.

ON-icon-quest-solo.png The Mayor of Southpoint[edit]

Sheogorath reveals himself

Once you enter the cathedral, Daraneth will begin talking to Mayor Aulus. He says Sheogorath promised him power and respect but cursed his tongue. Sheogorath pops out of Daraneth. Now that Sheogorath is offering to take away his gift, Mayor Aulus pleads to keep it. Sheogorath is convinced and uses some kind of purple spell on you, and you black out.

You awaken in a cell with Daraneth. Talk to her:

"I don't remember how I came to be here in this cell. When I awoke you were just standing there, foaming at the mouth.
Count yourself lucky that Sheogorath had no desire to treat you like a puppet. Unlike myself."
Why would Sheogorath inhabit your body?
"I was in Elden Root when I heard some of the strange rumors coming from Southpoint. When I returned here, I recognized the signs.
But when I arrived at my laboratory, Sheogorath was already there ... dancing. Then I was dancing. After that, it all went dark."
What happened next?
"I saw and heard everything we did, but I couldn't affect a thing. It was a waking nightmare! My own mind, a prison.
I expected him to kill us both, but we're here, aren't we? Best not to think of it. Applying logic to the Mad God is ... unwise."
So what happened to Southpoint?
"'Mayor Aulus' happened. He's always blamed others for his own shortcomings, but I never realized he'd been touched by SHeogorath.
The only way the madness will end is with his death."
Do you really think he has to die?
"He has the power to remake Southpoint in his image, to the Mad God's delight. Where Mayor Aulus goes, Sheogorath won't be far behind.
I see no other way. Unless you convince Sheogorath to take him back to Oblivion, but arguing with the Mad God is folly.
I'll kill him.
"I don't see how. Those bars are thicker than sword blades. We aren't going anywhere.
It seems Sheogorath made a few changes to these catacombs. There were never any prison cells below the cathedral."
Can't you use your magic to open the door?

Sheogorath appears outside the cell:

"Well, if it isn't my old friend Hunts-For-Books! Now don't look so glum, or the skeevers'll notice. Then they hit you up for some spare gold, a few shin bones, your best pair of cheese-filled slippers.
Insufferable beasts! They can't hold a conversation."
What do you want?
"Mayor Aulus is a curd in the soup. A real fly in the whey, don't you say? Made a mess of me gift, the kind from the wrong end of a dog.
I tried to encourage him. Even brought him a hero to destroy! But he couldn't go through with it. Can you imagine?"
You're talking about me.
"I led you right here to make it all boring again. And what did he do to stop you? Nothing! There I stood in my best old-lady suit, and he said it was all my fault!
Ah, he just needs motivation. What better than an escaped prisoner seeking vengeance?"
You want me to kill him?
"Could you kill someone you love? I can't! Well, I have. But not Mayor Aulus, it would be too pedestrian.
No, I want you to try killing him."
Why should I try to kill him?
"I want him to reach deep down, below all the marmalade and crushing failures defining his life, to find a seed of confidence, and grow it into a tree of gumption he'll use to beat your brains to paste.
But if not, any brain paste'll do. Even his."
I'll do this if you swear to leave Southpoint forever.
"Deal! Oh, and one more thing. Daraneth stays behind. If you bore me too much, I'll turn her into a goose, roast her, and feed her to you covered in fine Eidar glaze.
The goose, I mean. It's a might bit chilly for my Eidar-pants."
Whatever you say.


ON-icon-quest-solo.png Escape the Catacombs[edit]

You need to find a way out. The door to your cell is now open. As you head towards the stairs, Sheogorath summons two Golden Saints to fight you. If you saved Rufinus, he will be sitting on the ground:

"Just kill me, you crazy freak.
Wait, you're not him. You aren't dancing. Who are you?"
We met in the tower. You were struck by lighting.
"I did? I had had a few drinks, and then I must've blacked out.
Woke up here a while ago. Tried to sleep, but I kept dreaming of the same man. Wouldn't stop dancing."
Are you all right?
"Can't sleep, or the man dances. I don't want to dance with him.
I'm coming with you."
Are you certain? I'm headed to stop Mayor Aulus.
"Good. Still have a bit of lightning inside me. I'll help get you to him, so we can bash his face in."
All right. Follow me.

Keep moving through the catacombs, fighting more Golden Saints.


ON-icon-quest-solo.png Bridge Puzzles[edit]

The First Bridge[edit]

Head west to the door to the Central Catacombs. As you approach the bridge, Sheogorath appears in a cloud of purple butterflies and raises the bridge. In order to lower the bridge, you need to enter the East Sepulchre. The lever is at the south end of the room.

The Second Bridge[edit]

Pull the lever, head back and cross the bridge. However, Sheogorath raises the next bridge. Talk to him to suffer yet another game:

"I can never decide between CHoice and Free Will. Which will triumph in the end? But why not settle the matter for me?
Or you could yank a lever, but that's hardly fun for either of us."
You asked me to kill the mayor. Why are you playing these games?
"I just told you! Choice and Free Will are subjects I hold quite dear.
So, you could fight a very good friend of mine. Or you could pull another lever. You're Choice!"
I'll fight your friend
"Wonderful! Just say the word and I'll bring him here."
I'm ready to fight.
I'd rather pull another lever
"Oh, all right, but do it with gusto!"
Whatever you say.

Whichever you pick, Rufinus will collapse.

In the cathedral, he and Sheogorath will speak first. Talk to Aulus:

"It's not fair! I never wanted this, any of this, and now I'm to die for it!
But you're reasonable, aren;t you? We can talk about this, work something out?"
Sheogorath didn't give me much choice.
"You do have a choice! Not like me. Sheogorath listened to me, said he would take me down a golden path.
Noboby in Southpoint ever respected me, or gave me a chance to prove who I could truly be. What choice did I have but make them all see who I really am?"
Are you saying you had to do all this?
"My family ruled Southpoint for generations. But after we lost everything, where was my birthright then?
They wouldn't bow to me as they should, so now I've made them bow. It's the burden a true leader must bear. I shouldn't have to die for it!"

At this point, you can either kill him, or intimidate him into going back to Oblivion:

[Intimidate] If Sheogorath won't take you to Oblivion, I'll send you there myself.
"Wait! That's it, I'll go away with him, if he'll have me! Just let me try to convince him.
Besides, there's not much of Southpoint left. It's a bit used up, don't you think?"
No, you've gone too far. [Mayor Aulus dies]
If you don't convince him, you're dead.


Talk to Sheogorath:

"Choice wins again. Really tugs at the heart-strings! Careful with those. Yank too hard, and the blood goes everywhere but up.
I really do admire this town. Shame I can't take it with me. Oh, but can't I? I know just where to put it!"
We had a deal.
"We did, did we?
Well, I suppose you're right. Aulie and I could always visit. Perhaps during hurricane season! That would be delightful."

Notes[edit]

  • If you have completed the first quest of [verification needed] the Mages Guild questline, Sheogorath will begin the conversation in the cell with "Well, if it isn't my old friend Hunts-For-Books!"

Quest Stages[edit]

The Grip of Madness
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
I should speak with Captain Elonthor, the person in charge of the Dominion forces at Southpoint.
Objective: Talk to Captain Elonthor
I should speak with Daraneth, a Southpoint resident who offered to help find the missing Dominion scouts.
Objective: Talk to Daraneth
Daraneth belives Southpoint was driven mad by the Daedric Prince Sheogorath. She insisted on helping locate the missing Dominion scouts. We should search for them in the town.
Objective: Find the Scouts
I found one of the missing scouts, who said the "mayor" of Southpoint somehow turned his companions into bears. I should speak to Daraneth about what can be done about this.
Objective: Talk to Daraneth
Daraneth thinks she can restore the Dominion scouts from bears to their true form. I need to distract the bears while she reverses the magic.
Objective: Save the Scouts
With the Dominion scouts saved, Daraneth believes she can breach the cathedral where the mayor has barricaded himself. We should go to her basement laboratory and recover the scroll.
Objective: Go to Daraneth's Laboratory
Daraneth's basement laboratory was sealed by a powerful electrical storm. Perhaps Daraneth knows what can be done to stop this storm.
Objective: Talk to Daraneth
Objective: Climb the Colovian Tower
Objective: Talk to Rufinus
After dealing with Rufinus, the electrical storm has vanished entirely. I should head to Daraneth's basement laboratory. There we can collect the scroll needed to breach the cathedral.
Objective: Collect the Old Scroll
I collected the scroll from Daraneth's laboratory. I should use it to breach the cathedral so we can confront the mayor.
Objective: Enter the Cathedral
We entered the cathedral. Daraneth seems to recognize the "mayor" and hopes to talk some sense into him.
Objective: Confront the Mayor
It seems Sheogorath inhabited Daraneth's body the entire time we traveled through Southpoint. I awoke in some kind of jail cell, accompanied by a very weary Daraneth. I should speak with her and try to make sense of what happened.
Objective: Talk to Daraneth
Sheogorath appeared outside of the jail cell. He won't stop staring at me. I should speak with him.
Objective: Talk to Sheogorath
Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, wants me to kill Mayor Aulus. If I do so, he promised to leave Southpoint. I should look for a way out of these catacombs.
Objective: Find a Way Out of the Catacombs
Sheogorath is toying with me. He raised a drawbridge leading back to the cathedral. I need to find the lever that lowers the bridge so I can proceed.
Objective: Lower the Bridge
I lowered the drawbridge leading to the cathedral. I should make my way there so I can confront Mayor Aulus.
Objective: Cross the Bridge
Objective: Lower the Second Bridge
The path to the cathedral is open. I should make way there and confront Mayor Aulus.
Objective: Confront the Mayor
Objective: Listen to Sheogorath's Response