Online:At Any Cost

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Quick Summary: written by Enodoc, checked by MolagBallet

Walkthrough: not written

Quest Stages: written by Tib, not checked
Take steps to help Mistress Dratha beat death.
Zone: Vvardenfell
Quest Giver: Mistress Dratha in Tel Mora
Location(s): Ashalmawia, Bal Ur, Esutanamus, Kushtashpi, Ramimilk, Yansirramus, Tusenend, Prison of Xykenaz
Prerequisite Quest: Reclaiming Vos
Reward: Dark Staff of the War Maiden
Very High Leveled Gold
XP Gain: High Experience
ID: 5841
A dark pact is made
Mistress Dratha, having woken from a crippling illness, made it clear that she wants to beat death. Seven Daedric relics called the Stones of Cold Fire may be the key to achieving immortality.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Talk to Mistress Dratha.
  2. Retrieve the Stones of Cold Fire.
  3. Return to Tel Mora.
  4. Retrieve Xykenaz from his prison.
  5. Talk to Mistress Dratha.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

New Task[edit]

Speak to Mistress Dratha after completing the previous quest:

"Let me get a better look at you. Hmm. Your eyes are wrong, but your palms seem clean enough ....
I have a task for you. If you succeed, you'll earn the favor of a Telvanni councilor and a treasure from my vault. Is this agreeable?"
Maybe. What is it you want?
"In all my long years, the thought of death has rarely troubled me. But thanks to Savarak, I've gained new perspective. My illness took me to the brink of the void. The tip of the scythe.
Someday I may welcome death, but for now, steps must be taken."
What kind of steps?
"I find that people lead much happier lives when they don't trouble themselves with details.
Now, Vvardenfell is littered with Daedric shrines. Seven of these shrines contain powerful magicked stones. You must find these stones and bring them to me."
All right. I'll keep an eye out for these stones.
"The task I've set before you won't be easy. These shrines lie near and far. Some are little more than piles of brickwork, while others extend deep underground.
Even so, I'm confident you'll find what I'm looking for—the Stones of Cold Fire."
What exactly are these Stones of Cold Fire?
"So you're a scholar as well? I certainly wouldn't have predicted that.
Before the Tribunal showed up, we Dunmer worshiped the Daedra. They raised no small amount of havoc, but they also left us valuable gifts. Gifts like the stones."
What do the stones do?
"Nothing, until they rest side by side. If a mage manages to wake all seven, well ... let's just say their powers of persuasion are put to the test."
Aren't you worried about using Daedra relics?
"Of course not. Why should I be?
The powers of Oblivion hold no great mysteries for mages like me, and House Telvanni has no time for folklore and childish superstitions. What's the point of power left unclaimed?"
Do you have any plans for Vos now that Savarak is dead?
"Plans? No, of course not. I'll leave them to their business just as I always have."
But the people seemed so anxious for you to return.
"I'm sure they did. You'd like an explanation, wouldn't you? Fine.
You want to earn people's love? Here's the secret—just leave them alone. Treat them like adults, even when they act like children. The rest takes care of itself."
So that's it? You just leave them alone?
"Yes. Believe me, it's a rare and wonderful thing to live under the protection of a disinterested ruler. Self-determination. It'll be all the rage in a millennium or two, I guarantee it.
Now, are we finished? I need those stones."

Seven Stones[edit]

Retrieve the Stones of Cold Fire

Ashalmawia: This stone is located inside the Ashalmawia delve. Look for large metal doors to enter the dungeon. You will either need to defeat or sneak past the miniboss, Zylara, once inside to collect the stone.

Bal Ur: Head inside of Bal Ur Underground to collect this stone. There is a Phylaraak miniboss inside that you can either defeat or sneak past. The stone is located next to candles inside of the shrine.

Esutanamus: This stone is located next to the Esutanamus Shrine. There’s an easily avoided Daedroth miniboss that patrols the area.

Kushtashpi: Another stone that is easily located out in the open next to its shrine. Just like Esutanamus there is an avoidable miniboss in the area.

Ramimilk: The easiest stone to collect. This one is out in the open inside of the shrine with no minibosses in the area to deal with.

Tusenend: Head inside of the Tusenend shrine and either defeat or sneak past the Kythiirix miniboss. You will find the stone is nearby on the ground.

Yansirramus: Inside of the Yansirramus shrine is a Brakuum miniboss that you will want to defeat. After doing so look for the stone near the top of the area.

Back to Tel Mora[edit]

Return and enter Tel Mora, you'll find Llayne Sadri and Mistress Dratha on the ground floor.

If you choose to speak to Llayne first:

"She can be curt, but trust when I say we need Mistress Dratha—and not only for the sake of Vos and Tel Mora. Despite her temper, my mistress truly seeks the best for Vvardenfell. She cares too much, as the cliche goes.
Just help her, please."

Talk to Dratha:

"Hmm. Looks like the Daedra certainly put you through your paces. How did you fare? Do you have the stones I asked for?"
Yes. I have the stones right here. / I have the stones right here.
"Good. My dear Llayne chooses her allies well.
I'll prepare the stones, but one other task remains. You might be equal to the challenge …."
What more do you need?
"I must call on a particularly shrewd Dremora named Xykenaz. He refuses all summons, so we'll have to use … less pleasant means of negotiation.
I'll send you to his home plane. Go there, weaken him, and I'll draw you both back to Nirn."
Wait. You want me to bring a Dremora here? Why would I do that?
If you are an Orc
"Surely an adventurer of your stature isn't frightened of a single Dremora? Summoning Daedra is no more dangerous than taming bears—and even you dull-witted Orcs can do that.
It's quite safe. I'll send it away as soon as our business is concluded."
Careful how you talk about Orcs. Let me think about this.
"Surely an adventurer of your stature isn't frightened of a single Dremora? Summoning Daedra is no more dangerous than taming bears—and even the dull-witted Orcs can do that.
It's quite safe. I'll send it away as soon as our business is concluded."
I'll think about it.
"I hope you'll keep those deliberations brief. I'm opening the path now. When you stand ready to face Xykenaz, simply enter the portal.
And don't worry, I'll make sure you have a way back on the other side. I always keep my promises."

She then prepares to start the ritual for opening the portal to Xykenaz' realm.

Mistress Dratha: "The ritual allows me to speak to you through the veil, so keep your mind open when you reach the other side … or as open as you can manage."
Mistress Dratha: "Mor molag, Kana shanta. Delle nor gandra. Abagaianye!"
Mistress Dratha: "It's done. Trounce that unruly Dremora and the reward I promised is yours."

When you enter the portal, you hear Dratha comment on your arrival.

Mistress Dratha: "I hear the rattling of chains … you've arrived. Strike down Xykenaz then hurry back to the portal!"

You can find Xykenaz right in front of you.

Xykenaz: "The witch's servant, eh? Your soul is forfeit, summoner!"

Once you've defeated Xykenaz:

Mistress Dratha: "You've done it! His will is spent. Quickly, return to Tel Mora."

Back in Tel Mora, Dratha will tell you:

"Well done. Hm. I envy your youth. I might have found some way to rob or deceive a weakened benefactor, but not you. It's just on to the next adventure. Vibrance and integrity. What a curious combination."
A dark Daedric pact? That's what I helped you achieve?
"Spare me your incredulity, outlander. Not a word I told you was a lie. I simply didn't care to divulge all that I could have.
Truly, it's baffling you didn't suspect this from the start. Why else summon a Daedra, if not to make a bargain?"
And what bargain do you plan to make?
"I truly fail to see how it is any of your concern, but I suppose you have done me a favor. To put it simply, I need more time. I don't do this out of vanity. An ancient threat looms at the edge of my sight. I must remain until it is dealt with."
I should have been told what I was helping you to do.
"That would be your opinion, wouldn't it? My path is clear. A Daedric pact may seem a grim choice, but I'm prepared for the consequences.
Now, you adventurers love trinkets and gold, yes? I trust this will suffice. Farewell."
Dratha makes the deal with Xykenaz

With these words, she gives you Dark Staff of the War Maiden and the quest is complete. Dratha then begins to summon the weakened Dremora.

Mistress Dratha: "I shall begin the summoning immediately. Llayne be ready."
Mistress Dratha: "Xykenaz! Duke of black covenants! Appear! By the seven stones of your dark Prince, you will parley with me!"
Xykenaz: "Hmm … Dratha. Come to treat with another of Bal's servants? You will pay for this."
Mistress Dratha: "Silence, Daedra! Bend and heed my words! I demand immortality. Name your price."
Xykenaz: "Yes, price. There is no gift without cost, witch. I will grant your wish, but know this—you will live in endless fear, for on a day of my Master's choosing, I will come in the guise of a mortal man to claim your withered soul for Coldharbour."
Xykenaz: "There you will face an eternity of anguish and drown forever in an icy sea of shame. Tell me, scion of Azura, do you accept my terms?"
Mistress Dratha: "I accept."
Xykenaz: "The covenant is made. Be seeing you, magister."

Llayne will make an apology if you speak with her at this time:

"I know what you're thinking. I'm not exactly pleased either, but Mistress Dratha insisted this was the only way.
I'm sorry if you feel I wasn't honest with you, but either way, I owe you my thanks once again."
Why keep me in the dark?
"You need to understand, Mistress Dratha is a wise woman. She knows exactly the horrors she has agreed to. This choice was made not for herself, but for the greater good.
I didn't wish to betray you, but I trust her actions in this matter."
How is her bargain going to help the "greater good?"
"It's a danger that is long to come. I know very little, but I believe neither you nor I will ever see it in our lifetimes.
If it's enough to accept the tortures of Coldharbour, I'm thankful I will never live to see it."

You can speak to Mistress Dratha once more after the pact is made:

"Your actions have ensured the safety and prosperity of Tel Mora for years to come. Quite an accomplishment for a wiry youth.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have preparations to make. Many, many preparations."
Are you sure about this deal with Xykenaz?
"You've served me well, but you overstep. This pact is deeply personal, and I will not be second guessed. Nothing is more precious than time—the more precious the gift, the higher the price."
Is time really worth the price you paid?
"Ha. Ask me again in a few hundred years.
Risk is the price of any worthwhile endeavor. A vigorous adventurer like you should know that already. The trick is managing that risk—and no one navigates danger better than a Telvanni master."

Next time you visit her, you can ask similar albeit slightly differently worded questions:

"Here to remind me of my mistake? I have no regrets for my decision, outlander. Perhaps in a hundred years I will, but not today."
Are you not frightened of what is to come?
"What a presumptuous question. I don't believe I shall answer it.
I can tell you, however, that I hold no regrets. My path is clear and my eyes are open. You may not live to thank me for this choice, but perhaps your descendants will."
Do you know when you'll be taken to Coldharbour?
"Is it better to know? To count down the days with dread? Or better to be ignorant, to worry and wonder if today is the day, or perhaps tomorrow?
Give me a decade or so to decide how I feel about that."
You seem pretty calm about this.
"A magister must learn to keep her worries hidden and her face calm.
Xykenaz said he would come in the guise of a man... a Nord perhaps? A Breton? Or will it be a Mer? Perhaps I can speak to Llayne about setting up patrols for strangers in town."


  • It is possible to obtain each of the seven Stones of Cold Fire before the quest, where they will be marked as miscellaneous items. Upon accepting the quest from Dratha, any obtained stones will be immediately turned into the equivalent quest item. Dratha has no different dialogue if you get all seven ahead of time.
  • While the initial objective description specifically writes all seven ruins where the stones are located by name, stating that Mistress Dratha mentioned them to you, she doesn't do so in her previous dialogue.

Quest Stages[edit]

At Any Cost
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
According to Mistress Dratha, the Stones of Cold Fire are hidden away in seven Daedric shrines: Ashalmawia, Bal Ur, Esutanamus, Kushtashpi, Ramimilk, Yansirramus, and Tusenend. I must seek out these shrines and claim one stone from each.
Objective: Retrieve the Stones of Cold Fire
I retrieved all seven Stones of Cold Fire. Now I must deliver them to Mistress Dratha in Tel Mora.
Objective: Talk to Mistress Dratha
In order to use the Stones of Cold Fire, Mistress Dratha needs me to weaken a Dremora hidden away in the realm of Oblivion. I should go through the portal to find this Daedra.
Objective: Enter the Portal
Objective Hint: Wait for Dratha to Open the Portal
I arrived in Oblivion. I must defeat the vile Dremora, Xykenaz.
Objective: Defeat Xykenaz
I defeated Xykenaz. I should enter Mistress Dratha's portal and return to Nirn.
Objective: Return to Tel Mora
I returned safely to Tel Mora. I should talk to Mistress Dratha.
Objective: Talk to Mistress Dratha
Finishes quest☑ I completed all of Mistress Dratha's tasks. I should talk to her to receive my reward.
Objective: Talk to Mistress Dratha
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.
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