Online:A Feast of Souls
|This page is currently being rewritten as part of the Online Quest Project.
The page is being both written and checked. All users are welcome to make changes to the page. If you make a change that is relevant to the project, please update this template accordingly, and make sure you have observed the project guidelines.
- Go to Markarth and talk to Bradan.
- Talk to Ard Caddach in Understone Keep.
- Enter Nchuand-Zel and speak to Arana.
- Take the keystone.
- Enter the Orrery.
- Defeat Lady Belain.
- Stop the Orrery and talk to Verandis.
- Return to Understone Keep and talk to Ard Caddach.
Gwendis will tell you about what's happening in the city.
- "The war has started! The Gray Host attacked once and a larger force is marching toward the city!
Verandis sent me to tell Ard Caddach to fall back. To save as many of his people as he can. But the ard won't listen to me. He wants to fight back!"
- I can talk to Ard Caddach. He might listen to me.
- "Great! On your way to Understone Keep, look for Bradan. Arana brought the witch-rebels here to help and Bradan is leading the main contingent of warriors.
He needs to know that the whole purpose of all this is to kill as many Reachfolk as possible."
- Right. Rada al-Saran and Lady Belain need as many deaths as possible to awaken the Dark Heart.
- "Verandis says the Dark Heart's already awake, but it needs more souls to reach full power.
Oh, he also said that Lady Belain is somewhere in Markarth. She came to lead the Gray Host army. If we can remove her from the battlefield, all the better."
- I'll inform Bradan and then go talk to Ard Caddach.
Arana brought her rebels to Markarth to help the ard fight back against the Gray Host. However, a fight is exactly what the Gray Host wants; Lady Belain needs more Reachmen to die so their souls can power the Dark Heart. Verandis stayed behind at the orrery to pursue Rada al-Saran.
- "The Gray Host came out of nowhere. Hit the city like a giant's hammer. Vampires and werewolves, rending and killing anyone they could catch.
The ard's folk thought they were safe in Markarth. Only fools put their trust in walls."
- Bradan, you need to know. Every Reachfolk that dies today feeds the Dark Heart.
- "Just like what Nathari did to my clan? The bastards!
Arana brought us here to help, but it may be too late. They aren't only marching toward the gates—they're coming at us from beneath the city!"
- What do you mean, beneath the city?
- "Lady Belain unsealed the doors to Nchuand-Zel and let the Gray Host into the city. We arrived just in time to fend off the first wave. Can't make any promises about the next.
Go to Understone Keep. Tell Ard Caddach and Arana what you told me."
- I'll go to Understone Keep.
On your way to Understone Keep, you'll see the bodies of several people, both Reachfolk and foreign visitors to the city. A survivor named Eoline weeps for her fallen father along the path. Once you enter the keep, you'll see Ard Caddach, a Markarth Soldier and an Ard's Stonehand standing guard by the door. Speak with the ard.
- "There you are! After all your talk, I was beginning to think you abandoned us.
The Gray Host raided my city. Killed more of my people than I like, but we held them off. Barely. Now those bastards are gathering in Nchuand-Zel for their next attack."
- Lady Belain and the Gray Host want to kill as many of you as they can to feed an arcane relic.
- "Well, they certainly did a good job with their first attack!
Lady Belain actually tried to kill me herself. Might have succeeded if not for Arana. She drove off Belain and saved my sorry hide. As soon as I can assemble my troops, we'll strike back!"
- No. You need to defend yourselves and keep your people safe. The fewer Reachfolk die, the better.
- "Damn it, outsider! But your words ring true. All right, defense only. For now.
Arana had that look in her eyes, though. I think she plans to try to deal with Belain on her own. If you have the mind, go to Nchuand-Zel and help the witch-rebel, aye?"
- I'll find Arana and we'll deal with Lady Belain.
After you get the lay of the land from the ard, you have the option of speaking to Gwendis before heading down into Nchuand-Zel. She's going to return to Arkthzand to meet up with Verandis, who is confronting Rada al-Saran in the orrery. The path to Nchuand-Zel lies down the southern hall.
Once you're in Nchuand-Zel, take the eastern path; the western door leads to the Forbidden Great Lift, which is currently inaccessible. You'll see signs of struggle in the halls: countless scrapped Dwarven Spiders and a few dead vampires. In the first room beyond the entrance, you'll face a Gray Host Soldier and Chillrender. In the next room, you'll see two Gray Host soldiers studying a dormant Dwarven Centurion, which awakens and kills them once you enter the room. Arana lies just beyond this room. A Gray Host Stalker patrols the hallway.
She calls you over, clearly injured. Speak with her.
- "I wanted to finish this, but Belain … she's too strong. And the Gray Host …. I tried to return to Markarth … but got turned around."
- Tell me what happened.
- "I chased Lady Belain into the depths … battled her to a standstill. Then she summoned the Gray Host.
She fled while I fought them off. To the orrery, I think I heard her tell the Gray Host commander."
- Verandis went to confront Rada al-Saran at the orrery.
- "Listen … I sensed something else down below … a second keystone. Find it and you'll be able to … enter the orrery chamber."
- I understand. Let me to escort you back to Markarth.
- "Forget me … get the second keystone. Don't let Belain draw any more power from the Dark Heart."
- I'll find the keystone and get into the orrery chamber.
Lady Belain fled to the orrery after Arana fought her to a stalemate. There's a second keystone somewhere in this ruin, which you'll be able to use to enter the orrery chamber. If you question her further, Arana insists she's all right. Her strength is returning because of the Dark Heart's awakening. The Heart isn't necessarily "good" or "evil"; it just is. Lady Belain happens to be twisting it for her and the Gray Host's own selfish gain.
Head down the stairs. You'll fight a Gray Host Howler and Werewolf ahead. The keystone lies in the vault beyond the northwestern door in this room, which contains a river. You can jump down the ledge for a shortcut, or you can go the "right" way, which is to north from the two werewolves, down a flight of stairs next to a table with a bowl of stew on it. A Catapult Cabbage, a Gray Host Chillrender and a Battlemage guard the bridge leading towards the keystone room.
When you enter the Vaults, you'll find yourself in a room containing four Dwarven Spiders and a Centurion. Continue down the path. In the very last hallway of the next section, you'll find a ceaselessly spinning blade trap; hug the wall and go around it to avoid its swipes. Other traps ahead include kinetic force pulsers, steam vents and a lightning tripwire. A Dwarven Carrier guards the door to the keystone room.
Taking the Keystone
The Keystone is locked behind an energy barrier. You must solve a puzzle to unlock it. There are star plaques in all four cardinal directions, which lie in the four corners of this room. The Journal of Dionus Trutor lies on a table to your right as you exit the chamber's foyer. Read it for a clue:
- The Lord chases the Thief
- The Lady pursues her Lord
- The Steed runs after all of them
- To bring the Thief his reward
- Constellations, of course. In the course of the year, the order of the signs is Lord, Steed, Lady, and Thief last of all. If Vethenion is right, the solution begins with the Thief in the lead, and the Steed comes last.
- The connection of the Thief, a winter sign, with the Stars of the North is obvious. And the Steed is prominent in the southern sky during the summer solstice. The Lord and the Lady are more obscure to me. Neither is connected to east or west during their seasons. Is the Star of the East the Lady, or the Lord?
You must touch the star panels in the correct order to solve the puzzle. The panels on the walls have identical star arrangements, with the one on the pedestal in the corresponding corner of the Keystone platform being the one missing from that corner's arrangement. For example: in the northern corner, you have the Steed, Thief, and Lady present, but the Lord is missing from his place on the north end of that arrangement because the Lord panel is on the northern altar by the keystone.
The solution is as follows: Lord, Thief, Steed, Lady. The Lord's panel is in the north, touch it first. Then touch the Thief, who is in the east corner, then the Steed in the west corner, and finally the Lady, whose panel is in the south.
Take the Nchuand-Zel Keystone once you've dispelled the barrier, then head down the eastern tunnel.
Pursue Belain to the Orrery
You'll find a Gray Host Bloodknight in the room ahead. Take the eastern lift to enter Blackreach, then make for the Library of Arkthzand. Head to the library's east entrance, moving across the bridge north from Nchuand-Zel and traversing the library's courtyard in the process. You'll find Gwendis and Verandis puzzling over how to enter the library without a keystone. Speak with Verandis.
- "Try as I might, I haven't been able to penetrate the wards on the door into the orrery. The Dwarven magic is too powerful. Without a keystone of our own, we'll never get inside."
- Arana couldn't stop Lady Belain, but she led me to another keystone. I have it right here.
- "Another keystone? It seems the spirits of the Reach smile favorably upon us, after all!
But you say Lady Belain escaped from Arana? Any idea where she may have gone?"
- Arana was wounded in the battle, but she heard Lady Belain say she was returning to the orrery.
- "No one has entered or departed by these doors in all the time I've been here. It's clear that Rada and Belain know more about this old Dwarven structure than we do, though.
They must have another way to come and go as they need."
- Should we try to use the keystone I acquired?
- "By all means! If it works, we can finally confront Rada and Lady Belain. Together, perhaps we'll fare better than Arana."
- All right, let's go.
Take down the ward, and you'll automatically enter the building. Inside Orrery, you'll see Rada is already at the apparatus:
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "Rada! Stop this!"
- Rada al-Saran: "There is no stopping it now, Verandis. A few more adjustments to this infernal machine and all will be ready."
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "This won't save your brothers and sisters. I told you it's impossible!"
- <Rada grips Verandis in a spell, lifting him helplessly off the ground.>
- Rada al-Saran: "Oh, but you're wrong. About so many things. Can't you feel it, Verandis? The tug of the Dark Heart on your cursed soul."
- Gwendis: "Leave him alone!"
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "The Dark Heart …. You're going to sever our souls from Bal?"
- Rada al-Saran: "You see? Once I gather the exarchs to my side, my ancient promise will be fulfilled."
- <Rada releases Verandis, who falls to the ground. Meanwhile, Lady Belain appears before you.>
- Rada al-Saran: "Belain, spare Verandis and his cherished daughter. Dispose of the rest."
- Lady Belain: "Come and gaze upon the Heart. Come and witness my true power!"
Defeat Lady Belain
Lady Belain turns into a Vampire Lord while the world goes black. When you awaken, you find that you've been transported to the Dark Heart's chamber. Arana teleports in behind you, having been guided here by Namira.
- Lady Belain: "You fools. The Dark Heart is mine to command. This is the place where your little rebellion ends."
She opens Void portals to help you reach the three Voidmothers Belain is using to feed on the Heart. She first opens a portal to the northeast platform, which has no Voidmother, then throws one to the southeast platform. The first Voidmother relies on summoned Shades to attack. When the first Voidmother dies, Arana summons a portal to the northwestern platform, and one to the southwestern platform after the second Voidmother goes down. The second Voidmother summons a large Void Rot and uses an attack where she falls to the ground and contorts her body. The third Voidmother summons Shades and relies on picking you up and dropping you from great heights to deal damage. If you die, the fight resets, Lady Belain says her schtick about your rebellion ending again, and the Voidmothers respawn.
Once Lady Belain is defeated, she laments as her soul exits her corpse and flies towards the Dark Heart.
- Lady Belain: "No … this isn't possible! The Dark Heart … sustains me …."
Arana calls after you weakly.
- Arana: "Harrier …."
Head back up the stairs and speak to her.
- "Lady Belain … is she dead?"
- Yes. We defeated her. But Arana, what happened to you?
- "The Spirit Queen … Namira … she required a champion. She gave me the strength to press on … despite my wounds.
Now … that strength is gone."
- The Spirit Queen will just let you die?
- "She is the spirit of death and decay. Belain defied a natural death, as all vampires do. Using Namira's energy like that, it was an affront. I am … happy to have done my part.
Verandis needs your help. Go, harrier. Use this one last portal …."
- I'll go help Verandis.
Arana opens a portal, then collapses.
- Arana: "Please, help Verandis … I see it now … the Lord of the Gray Host threatens all Nirn."
You are transported back to the Orrery, where Verandis and Gwendis work to stop the machine.
- Gwendis: "Verandis, the orrery won't slow down!"
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "Ah, my friend, your timing is perfect. Get to the far platform and throw the switch!"
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "It will take all of us to stop this infernal machine!"
Head to the western platform and flip the switch. The great mechanism creaks and clacks, and with a hiss, the Orrery's spinning comes to a halt.
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "We did it, my friends. Now tell me, what of Lady Belain?"
Talk to Verandis on the northeast platform.
- "If you hadn't arrived when you did, Gwendis and I would not have been able to power down the orrery. Thank you.
But tell me. What of Arana and Lady Belain? I could feel them … it was like a battle in the darkness."
- Lady Belain took me to the Dark Heart chamber. Arana arrived. She helped me defeat Belain.
- "So it was Belain's death I felt in the darkness. Rada was right. For some reason, the connection I have to the Dark Heart is strong. But there was something else … another sensation.
Where's Arana, my friend?"
- Arana said Namira suppressed her wounds so she could defeat Belain. After the battle, she died.
- "Arana dead? That's another soul lost to the Void. Between her and those that perished at Markarth, the Dark Heart ate well this day.
I'd like you to return to Understone Keep. Tell Ard Caddach that despite what we have lost, Markarth is safe."
- I'll tell Ard Caddach the news.
You can speak to Verandis further before leaving.
- "Tell Ard Caddach the news. I want to study this machine a little longer. Something here will shed light on Rada's purpose.
I know Rada won't rest until he saves the Gray Host from its ancient curse—no matter what that means for the rest of us."
- What exactly did Rada al-Saran accomplish here?
- "Rada used the orrery to focus the Void energy. He created a portal to travel somewhere, but the specific destination eludes me.
He did say he needed to gather his exarchs, the original warlords of the Gray Council. The leaders of the Gray Host."
- So the Gray Host is still a threat?
- "An immediate one? No, I don't think so. With Rada gone and Lady Belain dead, the Gray Host forces here in the Reach will eventually break up and fade into the shadows. Eventually."
- But Rada al-Saran is still out there.
- "Yes, but he's finished with Markarth and the Reach. I think he got what he wanted from the orrery and the Dark Heart. At least for now.
Don't worry. I'll figure out what else he has planned. And together we will deal with it. When the time is right."
When you exit the conversation, you'll hear an exchange between Verandis and Gwendis.
- Gwendis: "You sure you'll be all right here by yourself, Verandis?"
- Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "I shall return to Markarth shortly."
- Gwendis: "What am I saying? Of course you will. but if you're not back soon, I'll come and drag you to Markarth myself!"
Return to Understone Keep and tell Ard Caddach the news. The closest wayshrine to the Library of Arkthzand is the Arkthzand Wayshrine, which lies to the north. alternatively, you can go back through Nchuand-Zel.
- "We did as you said, rover. We defended the city and kept our people safe. Then, all of a sudden, the Gray Host turned and fled. And I barely got to kill a dozen or so of the bastards myself!
Do I have you to thank for this unexpected turn of events?"
- Arana and I defeated Lady Belain, Rada al-Saran fled, and Verandis stopped the Dwarven machine.
- "Well, that explains everything! Someone will sort out the details and tell them to me later. All that matters is the Gray Host called off their attack and departed as soon as they lost their leaders.
But where's Arana? I want to thank the witch."
- Arana died helping me defeat Lady Belain.
- "Arana promised to stop Lady Belain, no matter what. Trust a Reach witch to make her own words come true.
At least it was a good death, given in a noble cause. And Markarth still stands. We'll remember what Arana did. And we'll remember you, as well."
- Where's the Gray Host now?
- "They scattered and fled, good riddance!
Between Arana's wilders and my Stonehands, we held them back. And when you cut off the head, they were done with this fight. There's some clean up to be done in the wilderness, but nothing we can't handle."
- Then Markarth is safe. For now.
- "We lost too many good Reachfolk to Lady Belain and her damn desires. I'm glad you and Arana dealt with her, but I wish I had been able to kill her myself.
Is that Count Verandis over there? Looks like he wants to talk to you."
Talk to Count Verandis to end the quest.
- "We stopped Lady Belain from gorging the Dark Heart with all the souls of Markarth, but we can't bring back the dead. Still, the Heart awakened but never reached full power.
We turned back the Gray Host and killed Belain. That's a victory, my friend."
- Did you learn anything else from the orrery?
- "The orrery remains charged with Void energy. But the Dark Heart was never completely filled and it already wanes. That means we denied Rada al-Saran a limitless source of power.
Rada may have escaped for the moment, but we will find him."
- What about the Nighthollow vampires?
- "Any surviving Nighthollow clan members are bound to the Dark Heart. As it wanes, so will they. When you destroyed Lady Belain, you sealed the doom of her entire clan.
That threat is ended forever, thanks to you and Arana."
- And do you still sense the Dark Heart?
- "Yes. Whether through the use of the orrery or some other means, Rada tied the Void energy to the Gray Host. And due to my past affiliation, that seems to include me.
I can feel it. Hear its dark whisper. I need to ponder the implications."
- Should we go after Rada al-Saran now?
- "Soon. For now, savor this victory. The courage of mortals, not some buried relic, is the true heart of the Reach. You've saved countless lives, and proved to the Reachfolk that not all outsiders are a threat to this land.
Rada's time will come."
After speaking to Verandis, the ard will address those gathered around:
- Ard Caddach: "We defeated evil today. An ancient darkness at the very heart of the Reach, that threatened to destroy us all."
- Ard Caddach: "These outsiders stood beside us and made our troubles, our enemies, their own. Let them hear our thanks!"
- Ard Caddach: "Look around you, people of the Reach. Markarth still stands! See your fellow Reachfolk and know we will always fight for our land and our ways!"
|A Feast of Souls|
|Finishes Quest||Journal Entry|
|Verandis has asked me to go to Markarth and warn Ard Caddach. Instead of fighting back against the Gray Host, he needs to fall back and deny as many lives as possible to the Dark Heart.
Objective: Go to Markarth
|I should let Bradan know that the Gray Host wants a fight. They want to kill everyone to feed the Dark Heart. He needs to make sure Markarth's defenders work to keep everyone alive and not try to die in a blaze of glory.
Objective: Talk to Bradan
|Now that I brought Bradan up to speed, I need to go to Understone Keep and convince Ard Caddach and Arana that we need to deny the Dark Heart as many deaths as we can.
Objective: Go to Understone Keep
|Now that I reached Understone Keep, I should find Ard Caddach and let him know the true purpose of this assault on Markarth.
Objective: Talk to Ard Caddach
|Ard Caddach explained that Arana chased Lady Belain back into Nchuand-Zel. I should try to catch up to them and help the witch-rebel defeat the ancient vampire.
Objective: Enter Nchuand-Zel
Optional Step: Talk to Gwendis
Optional Step: Look for Clues
|I entered the undercity of Nchuand-Zel. Now to find Arana and help her deal with Lady Belain.
Objective: Search for Arana
|I found Arana, but she appears to have been seriously wounded. I should talk to her.
Objective: Talk to Arana
|Arana was seriously wounded in her battle with Lady Belain, but she thinks she sensed the presence of another keystone in the Nchuand-Zel vaults below. I need to find that keystone so I can enter the orrery chamber in the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Find the Keystone
|I located the Nchuand-Zel Keystone, but it's protected by ancient Dwarven wards. I need to figure out a way past the defenses so that I can get the keystone and enter the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Unlock the Nchuand-Zel Keystone
Hidden Objective: Star of the North
Hidden Objective: Star of the East
Hidden Objective: Star of the West
Hidden Objective: Star of the South
Hidden Objective: Release Item
Hidden Objective: Use the Keystone
Hidden Objective: Belain in Orrery
Hidden Objective: Orrery Stopping
Hidden Objective: Verandis Returns
|I removed the keystone's protective wards. Time to take it and go to the orrery chamber in the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Take the Keystone
|Now that I have a keystone, I can access the orrery inside the Library of Arkthzand. I should head there and make my way to the orrery chamber.
Objective: Go to the Library of Arkthzand
|I reached the Library of Arkthzand and met Verandis, who has been seeking a way into the orrery chamber. I should tell him about the keystone I acquired in Nchuand-Zel.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
|It's time to use the keystone I acquired in Nchuand-Zel and enter the orrery chamber in the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Enter the Orrery Chamber
|We entered the orrery chamber to find Rada al-Saran doing something to the arcane machine. We need to try to stop him.
Objective: Confront Rada al-Saran
|While Verandis and Gwendis attempt to stop Rada al-Saran and whatever he's doing with the orrery above, Lady Belain teleported me down below into the chamber with the Dark Heart. She's drawing power from it. I need to stop her while I still can.
Objective: Defeat Lady Belain
|We defeated Lady Belain, but I heard Arana call out in pain. I should check on her.
Objective: Talk to Arana
|With her dying breath, Arana opened a portal to return me to the orrery above. She said that Verandis needs my help. I should hurry through the portal.
Objective: Return to the Orrery Chamber
|The ancient orrery is still operating at full power. Verandis told me to run to the far platform and throw the switch. It will take all of us to stop the machine.
Objective: Stop the Orrery
|We powered down the orrery. I should let Verandis know what transpired in the Dark Heart chamber below.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
|Verandis has asked me to return to Markarth and tell Ard Caddach that Belain has been defeated. I should go to Understone Keep and talk to the ard.
Objective: Return to Understone Keep
|Now that I'm back in Understone Keep, I should let Ard Caddach know what transpired in Blackreach.
Objective: Talk to Ard Caddach
|Verandis returned to Understone Keep. I should speak to him. Perhaps he learned something more from his study of the orrery.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
|We killed Lady Belain, kept the Dark Heart from devouring all of Markarth, and scattered the Gray Host. But Rada al-Saran escaped. I should ask Verandis what we should do now.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
|Prev: The Dark Heart||Up: The Reach||Next: The End of Eternity|