Online:Ard Caddach

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Ard Caddach
(lore page)
Home City Markarth
Location Understone Keep
Race Reachman Gender Male
Reaction Friendly
Other Information
Faction(s) Blackdrake Clan
Ard Caddach

Ard Caddach is a Reachman who rules Markarth from Understone Keep. He is the late Emperor Leovic's cousin, and was appointed ruler of Markarth in the days of the Longhouse Emperors. Lady Belain is his advisor.

Related Quests[edit]

Quest-Related Events[edit]

The Despot of Markarth[edit]

Before you're granted an audience with the ard, you can speak to him and he will say:

"Not now, outsider. Away with you or I'll have my Stonehands turn you into a rug."

Sentry Bodfe grants you an audience with the ard, who is sitting on his throne.

"What fool do I have to behead for letting you in here? You're not of the Reach or the clans. You've either got the sense of a goat or the heart of a sabre cat. I'm eager to find out which. Now speak plainly. What brings you to the Despot of Markarth?"
I bring information about the witch-rebels from Count Verandis Ravenwatch.
"The fancy Elf who won't take no for an answer? He should have made this offer earlier. News concerning the rebels is a beast worth skinning.
Tell me something I don't know and I won't have you fed to my hunting dogs."
They have spies in the city, urging your people to flee to the eastern foothills.
"Spies? In my city? Hmm. That would explain some things. But that and a vague location aren't enough to get me to sit down and drink with a High Elf.
What else have you got? And remember, my patience is wearing thin."
I think the leader of the witch-rebels is named Arana.
"Arana? I know that name. She's a honey-tongued fanatic who refused to bury her sword when I forged a peace with the Gray Host. She's slippery, but I didn't realize she led the rebels.
Sniffing out a Reach witch. That commands respect. For now."
Did you say you made peace with the Gray Host?
"Aye. They agreed to spare the city while they look for some ancient relic. Dwarven, I suspect. They can have it.
Verandis wants to meet? Then talk to my advisor, Lady Belain. Track down Arana for her and I'll listen to every word he has to say."
All right, I'll speak to Lady Belain.

If you speak to him again, he says:

"Find Arana. Then I'll talk to you and the noble. Not a moment before."

Return to Understone Keep and try to speak to him before speaking to Verandis and he'll dismiss you:

"The outsider returns! Give me a moment to finish what I'm doing, then you can tell me all about your hunt."

After speaking to Verandis, you'll witness the ard growing impatient:

Emsold: "Sentry Bodfe sent word. The Gray Host is—"
Ard Caddach: "I'll hear no more of this! Go! I want to talk to the outsider."
"The outsider returns. But are you a true warrior or a parasite like these damned leeches?
Did you do as Lady Belain asked? Did you deal with Arana? Tell me you have her head in your pack. I've got a pike on the walls waiting to be decorated."
I found Arana, but l learned something else. Lady Belain is working with the Gray Host.
"Hmm. That's not what you were asked to look into. Still, it confirms my own suspicions about my keep-witch.
Don't look so surprised. I'm not half as stupid as people think, rover."
If you suspected she was working with the Gray Host, why allow her to remain in your court?
"Allow? I can count on three fingers the number of people I allow in Understone Keep. The rest? They come and go as they please.
Let me tell you about the ember dance. It's a ceremony we perform here in the Reach. Have you ever heard of it?"
"We grab a handful of hot coals and dance on a bed of straw. These coals burn, rover. Right to the bone. But if you drop even one, the straw alights and flames take all of you to Molag Bal.
Do you see? Belain's a hot coal, so I grip her tight."
Now that you know for sure, what are you going to do?
"I'm going to sharpen my sword. And wait.
If you and the noble plan to fight the Gray Host, I won't stop you. But remember—Markarth is more than Dwarven stones and high walls. It's strength. Make Arana understand that. That's how you can help."
I'll consider that. Have I done enough that you'll agree to talk to Count Verandis now?
"Still begging? I should have the tongue ripped from your head and—damn it, rover. A favor for a favor, aye. That's the Reach way.
All right. Tell the noble. Ard Caddach will see him whenever he's ready."
I'll let Count Verandis know.
"You think I'm foolish to keep Lady Belain close, don't you? It takes a bit of foolishness to rule this place, don't you know?
You tell this High Elf of yours. I'll see him if he wants."
Why are you and Arana at odds?
"Because I'm the Ard of Markarth and she refuses to heed my commands!
Look, every Reach warrior who dies fighting Arana's private war against the Gray Host makes all of us weaker. We need our strength, now more than ever."
So you want me to convince her to bring her people into the city?
"Markarth's the safest place right now. No matter how well Arana and her rebels know the hills, the vampires and the werewolves sniff them out.
If she keeps getting my best fighters killed, I swear I'll hang her from the city walls by her own guts."
Why don't you think the Gray Host will attack Markarth?
"We made a deal. We gather in the city and leave them free to find whatever bit of Dwarven nonsense brought them to the Reach in the first place.
Of course, Lady Belain brokered that peace, so now I suppose our bargain is suspect."
Then help us fight them.
"The city walls are still our strongest play, rover. Like headstones, they mark the thousands of enemies who died trying to breach Markarth's defenses.
We'll bide our time and wait for the Gray Host to show their true intentions. Then I'll act."
How did you become the Despot of Markarth?
"That's a title given to me by outsiders. I use it to frighten the neighbors and keep away the riffraff.
I'm the Ard of Markarth. Leovic, the last Longhouse Emperor, was my cousin. I inherited the throne by blood. Had to keep it by blood, too."
What do you mean?
"You ask more questions than my third wife!
Leovic's clan—my clan—squabbled over the scraps after Varen murdered my cousin. Pretty soon, they came to take my city. So I bound their ankles and tossed them all to the rocks. Head first."
You murdered your entire clan?
"All that were left, aye. And the word is executed, not murdered.
An ard offers food, freedom, and protection with his right hand. With his left, he promises cruelty and punishment. Those that covet the right get the left. Simple as that."
Is that when they gave you the title, Despot of Markarth?
"No. That story's far worse.
And no, I won't be telling it this day."

Blood of the Reach[edit]

After you spoken to Verandis, you can interact with Ard Caddach and he will say:

"Look at me, sharing breaths with a damned outsider. Black days are here again, eh?
Go on, rover. Do what you must and I'll do the same.

A Feast of Souls[edit]

The next time you can interact with the ard is only when the Gray Host is attacking his city.

"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.
"Watch your step in Nchuand-Zel. From what we could tell, the Gray Host was gathering there for days before the attack. Even without the vampires and werewolves, there are old traps and metal monsters to contend with.
Dwarves never did like company."
Why did Arana run off on her own?
"A strong witch in all her anger is a force of nature. Arana blames Lady Belain for what happened to her old clan. And rightly so! Sounds like Belain got into poor Nathari's head.
The old ways. Even I'm not fool enough to want them back."
Why did you ever agree to work with Lady Belain?
"She gave me good counsel for a time. Even regarding the Gray Host. Sheltering in Markarth saved a lot of Reachfolk lives … until today, at least.
Arana warned me, though. She didn't trust Belain from the start."
We discovered that Lady Belain is an ancient vampire from the Nighthollow clan.
"My gran would scare us with tales of the Night Lords who once ruled the Reach from the land below. Always thought she was just trying to frighten the children.
Like most of the vateshran legends, I suppose there was a kernel of truth in her stories."

Return to Understone Keep from the Chamber of the Dark Heart and the ard will greet you:

Ard Caddach: "Ah, here's one whose report we need. What news of Lady Belain?"

Speak to him.

"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.

If you speak to him again before talking to Verandis, he says:

"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."

After speaking to Verandis, the ard will address the gathered assembly:

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!"

Speak to him.

"Arana will be sorely missed. I could use more enemies like her.
The best way to honor her memory is to keep peace with the wilders who followed her. We stood together against a common foe. No reason not to keep standing."
What happens now, Ard Caddach?
"We bury our dead and get back to enjoying our rights as free men and women of the Reach.
There's a place in Markarth for those who want it. And those who decide to live in the wild? Well, I won't stand in their way."
What about the remnants of the Gray Host army?
"I'll send my Stonehands after any of those monsters that still linger near my city. As for stragglers who take to the hills, I'll let the wilder clans deal with them.
I know a clan or two who might be eager to collect some claws and fangs."

The End of Eternity[edit]

While looking for "the land sundered from Tamriel", Lyris will attempt to glean the location from the ard. According to Lyris, the ard took exception to her questioning and what started as an inquiry ended in a brawl. Lyris sends you to the ard to get the info:

"Had my fill of reekers gracing my presence today. Seeing as you've shed blood for me and mine I'll give you my ear, but make it quick. My bile's up and too much talk will likely make it churn."
I'm in search of land that was sundered from Tamriel. It happened somewhere in the Reach.
"Bah! You speak with that half-giant's tongue. What business is it of yours what I do with my land? I gave that parcel to Mannimarco years ago. It was his to offer to Molag Bal as he pleased. Why dredge up such dealings now?"

If you've not completed the main quest:


If you have completed the main quest:

I thought I stopped the Planemeld. Shouldn't your lands have returned?
"Aye, you and the half-giant both, so the crows say. Don't think I've not spied on you same as Lady Belain.
I gave that land to Mannimarco long before the God of Scheme's brought his wrath to your Empire. The labors of his cult cast it to Oblivion."
Did you know what they had planned?
"Mannimarco didn't call me confidant. When he departed, he said the failure here would forge his success elsewhere. I never saw him again.
If you want to know his mind, you'll have to see what he wrought yourself. I'll open the way for you."
Where can I find the land you gave to Mannimarco?
"There's a lift in Nchuand-Zel that'll take you to the sundered land. I keep it sealed, for reasons that should be obvious, but I'll see you're granted passage.
Now off you go, and take the prickly she-wolf with you."
Why would you make a deal with someone like Mannimarco?
"Not so long ago Reachfolk ruled the Empire. We had our lands returned and dignity restored. Then we were driven back into the mud by the usurper.
Mannimarco pledged justice for my people if I gave him shelter. A dark spirit's bargain, to be sure."
Do you regret the deal you made?
"No. The usurper, Varen, lost his lands, his throne, and so much more. What Mannimarco promised me was given.
If that don't sit well with you, I got no apologies to give. I can only tell you that's where my dealings with the Worm King begin and end."

Second Chances[edit]

When you return to Understone Keep, Bradan will send you to meet with the ard in his war room. Outside the room you can hear:

Ard Caddach: "We are agreed. If Eastern and Western Skyrim can put aside their differences in the face of the Gray Host, then the Reach can do so as well."

In the room are Jarl Svana, Jorunn the Skald-King, and Prince Irnskar meeting with the ard.

Ard Caddach: "Come forward, freehand. No need to bow for the sake of kings."
"If you'd said only yesterday I'd play host to Nord rulers from across all of Skyrim, I'd have told you the dead would live again before that happened … and here we are—a day of miracles!
Tell me truthful, you had a hand in all this, aye?"
I killed Rada al-Saran and Verandis restored the lives lost to the Dark Heart.
"At last, the monster that nearly brought my lands to ruin has paid the price for his wrongs. I could ask no more and yet that which was taken has been returned as well.
Where is Count Ravenwatch? If he thinks to escape my gratitude …."
Verandis had to stay behind to return the souls of your people.
"Hmm. Then his name and deeds will echo these halls for as long as I sit upon the throne. Which will be a while yet, thanks to you both—and so long as these Nords are good to their word.
I've no idea what peace is like, but I'm eager to find out."
What sort of agreement have you reached with the Nords?
"We treat for peace. Our battles with the Gray Host have ravaged all our kingdoms and peoples. We each seek to rebuild and recover. Perhaps we'll do so together. At least we'll keep out of each other's way.
Before we proclaim, I have a favor to ask."
What do you need?
"I've need of a counselor. In spite of her treachery, Lady Belain was a canny advisor. I need that again now, more than ever.
Tell the witch, Arana, that I will offer her my ear if she will share her wisdom. I hear she's recently arrived to my keep."
So you're making peace with Arana, too?
"Aye, I suppose so. Can't just lop off her head after she got it back. Wouldn't do for morale. Unless she's determined to keep up her fight with me, I'm willing to put the past to rest.
Besides, I already made peace with the rest of her rebels."
What are your plans for Markarth now that there's peace?
"It's a worthy holdfast, but not so much a city. I would have the land worked, the stone repaired, and the markets expanded. These are not things my kin have much knowledge in, but perhaps the Nords will share their trade for the right price."
Tell me your thoughts on the other rulers here.
"Hmm, they're a fair lot more agreeable than the she-wolf you travel with. Have the sense to show deference to a king in his own hall, though I heard enough honeyed words from the Lady Belain for one lifetime. The fat one thinks himself a poet."
What do you think of Skald-King Jorunn?
"Feh. Skald-King. Nonsense. Every now and then comes a king of his kind—one who makes stirring pronouncements and promises that his court must struggle to keep. His grand words lack guile, so I wager he can be trusted."
What do you think about Jarl Svana?
"The past would tell me to hate Svargrim's whelp with all my vigor. We've battled and bled for more generations than I can count with her ilk … but this fledgling speaks plain and honest. When she talks of new beginnings, I believe her."
What about Prince Irnskar?
"Hmm. I heard Jorunn sired the boy when he was young, but looking at the pair I have a hard time saying who's father and who's whelp!
Irnskar seems shrewd and dutiful. But his father casts a long shadow—a wide one, too."
There's some thing else I wanted to ask you about.
"Bah, if you must. Can't have you thinking me ungrateful."
<Dialogue repeats from above>

Later in the Announcement Hall, if you speak to him before speaking to Arana, he'll say:

"Go on, my witch beckons. Just make it quick. I feel a fool standing about like this."

After speaking to her, he'll say:

"Feh, adventurers. Come and go as you please. Keep three kings and a jarl biding on their thumbs in a crowded hall. Suppose you've earned that right, rover!
Near everybody in this room wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."
I did what I had to.
"Simply put. Aye, I like that.
In doing what needed doing, you brought all the crowns of Skyrim to one hall. You put the Gray Host back in the ground. And you gave us clear skies. At last, we can see where we must go. Take this, with all our thanks."

He'll then start the speeches:

Ard Caddach: "Freehands of Markarth! You long suffering lot I call my kin! We've survived another long night. Darker than we've ever known."
Ard Caddach: "But we didn't endure it alone. Against the Gray Host we found unlikely allies and put aside old grudges. Together we not only survived, we flourished."
Jarl Svana: "We owe these miracles to the efforts of all kinds: Reachman, Nord, vampire, outlander. Heroes of every stripe."
Jarl Svana: "Let us follow their example. We have warred together, we celebrate together, let us rebuild together!"
Prince Irnskar: "From this day forward we clash mugs instead of swords! Peace and prosperity to all our kingdoms! Cheers to the heroes of Skyrim!"
Jorunn the Skald-King: "Let us remember them with song and drink!"
Jorunn the Skald-King: "We, the children of Skyrim! We shall endure!"

After you can speak to him again:

"I cannot think of a time or a tale where a Reachfolk and Nord extended a hand to one another unless each was holding a dagger. This may be the first time such a thing's occurred.
May it not be the last."
Do you believe this peace will last?
"Much as anything can. Stone crumbles, forests burn, even Daedra die now and again. This life's a struggle. The only thing that's changed is what we struggle against.
The peace will last so long as we fight for it."
And will you?
"Aye. We've trod in circles with blood and rage clouding our eyes for as long as anyone can remember, but just now we've glimpsed a new path off this endless trail of suffering. Peace is on the horizon and we're for it now with all we've got."