Online:Danger in the Holds

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ON-qico-Zone Story.png Work with Svana to warn the Holds of Western Skyrim of a coming threat.
Zone: Western Skyrim
Zone StoryThis quest is part of the Zone Story
Quest Giver: Maugh, Svana
Location(s): Blue Palace, Morthal, Morthal Barrow, Eversnow Inn, Karthwatch, Solitude
Prerequisite Quest: Dark Clouds Over Solitude
Next Quest: The Vampire Scholar
Reward: Morthal Barrow Breastplate
Very High Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Very High Experience XP
ID: 6462
After speaking with her father failed, Svana's taking matters into her own hands
Maugh delivered a message to me from Princess Svana. She wants to talk to me at the Lonely Troll before she meets with the high king.
With the high queen's murderer brought to justice and a clear connection established between the assassin and the Icereach Coven, Svana thinks we have enough evidence to convince High King Svargrim that the threat to his kingdom is real.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Head to the Blue Palace and speak with Svana after her meeting with Svargrim.
  2. Go to Morthal.
  3. Speak with Jarl Reddharn.
  4. Investigate Morthal Barrow with Lyris Titanborn.
  5. Return to the Jarl explain what you found.
  6. Meet with Svana at the Eversnow Inn.
  7. Investigate Karthwatch and destroy any Gray Reliquaries you find.
  8. Search Jarl Olfwenn's Hall for survivors.
  9. Talk with Magister Fridelja and Svana.
  10. Return to Solitude and find Lyris.
  11. Speak with Svana at the Blue Palace.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

Solitude and Haafingar Hold[edit]

After your journey into Blackreach to kill an assassin, Svana will have heard your story and is ready to take action. You can either continue your conversation with her in the Lonely Troll or Maugh will contact you around Solitude and direct you to her. Her first task will be to convince her father of the Coven's threat to the holds of Western Skyrim, Svana will ask you to meet her at the Blue Palace though she admits that it will be difficult as, "My father hasn't heard a word I've said since I was old enough to talk. But with mother gone, someone has to make him see reason."

As you leave, you will overhear Svana talking to Maugh as she psyches herself up for the confrontation with High King Svargrim.

Svana: "Wish me luck, Maugh."
Maugh: "Forget luck. I suggest a slug of kindlepitch whiskey. You'll need it to stand up to your father."
Svana's audience with High King Svargrim

After you enter the palace, you can head up to the throne room which is up the main stairs in the foyer. When you arrive, you will witness the end of Svana's audience with Svargrim. It has not gone well at all.

High King Svargrim: "You would have me spread my forces across the realm to search for nightmares you dredged up from a bottle?"
Svana: "It's not—"
<Svargrim cuts in over her.>
High King Svargrim: "Or should I say the whispers of eastern vipers tickling your ears?"
Svana: "But mother—"
<Svargrim gets up off the throne and begins to leave, Swordthane Uthlet will trail after him.>
High King Svargrim: "Enough! When next you come before me to vomit up your counsel, make sure it doesn't stink of treason."

Once the king has left, you can speak with Svana and see what she wants to do next. She will be furious but decides to follow her mother's teachings and take the matter into her own hands. "Our kingdom consists of three holds. Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, and Karthald. I need to warn them. The jarls might listen, even if my father won't. I'm the daughter of the high king, after all. Time to start acting like one. Will you come with me?"

After agreeing to help, Svana will ask you to meet her in Morthal to speak with Jarl Reddharn and mentions she will also send word to Lyris to meet you both there.


Convince Jarl Reddharn

Morthal is located in the eastern parts of Western Skyrim, northwest of Labyrinthian. If you have been there previously, you can get there quickly by using the wayshrines. Once you have arrived in the town, Svana and Lyris will be waiting for you outside Jarl Reddharn's Hall, they will enter once they see you.

When inside, Svana will walk up to the Jarl's throne and address him about the threat. He will want to know why the princess of Solitude has come to Morthal.

Jarl Reddharn: "Why does the princess of Solitude grace my humble hall with her royal presence? Are you here on behalf of the high king?"
Svana: "I've come to warn you, Jarl Reddharn."
Jarl Reddharn: "Warn me? I already received orders from your father. What more is there to say?"
Svana: "Orders? Right … but you need to prepare the hold's defenses."
Jarl Reddharn: "And what must we defend ourselves against this time? More urns and fetishes?"
Svana: "Please, Jarl Reddharn. Let my friend explain. The threat to our holds is worse than you can imagine."

The Jarl will decide hear you out due to Svana vouching for you or your previous adventures in Morthal. After explaining what happened in Kilkreath, he will mention the orders he received from Svargrim involving any odd objects found in the area. They were to be left alone on the grounds of their possible danger, when his soldiers ignored this after discovering some strange pikes, they were attacked by a group of Reachmen who were then chased into a barrow to the east of town. Jarl Reddharn will ask you to investigate the Morthal Barrow and what happened to his soldiers, due to your prior experience and hands you the Barrow Key.

Finding the Morthal Soldiers

Lyris will accompany you during your investigation, the pair of you can head into the forest east of the town where you will soon find some Morthal Soldiers guarding the barrow's entrance and Swordthane Enyra, who will call out as you approach.

Swordthane Enyra: "Keep back, the barrow is unsafe!"
Lyris Reddharn: "Jarl Reddharn sent us. What happened here?"
Swordthane Enyra: "Reachmen. Let's talk if you want details."

There is an optional step to speak with Swordthane Enyra who can give you more details on their encounter with the pikes and the Reachmen. After her squad chased the Reachmen into the barrow, a strange storm appeared around them and many of her fellow soldiers either died or were transformed into monsters. To make matters worse, the draugr within the barrow also awoke from their coffins. Entering the barrow, you may notice a faint red mist that hangs in the air, a clear sign that what you are facing is similar to Kilkreath. As you make your way to the deeper parts of the barrow, you will find the mist becomes heavier and the undead you face also feature Harrowfiends. Along the way you can find Sister Elra's Proclamation which confirms that this is more Icereach Coven work.

Eventually, you will find dead Morthal Soldiers along a hallway in the deepest part of the barrow. This is where Swordthane Enyra's squad encountered the storm.

Lyris Reddharn: "Those bodies. They're the jarl's soldiers."
The source of the storm

Up ahead, the hallway will open into a vast chamber. Down below you is a singular Witch Pike which is surrounded by Lost Souls and is being maintained by Warlord Rukar. Directly across from you, Sister Elra will be shouting orders to Rukar:

Sister Elra: "A meager harvest! This gray reliquary must be moved to more fruitful fields."

She notices you and gives a final order before disappearing.

Sister Elra: "Protect the witch pike. Do not let them destroy it!"
<She teleports away>

With your goal clear, you will need to go downstairs to destroy the witch pike. Though it resembles the witch pikes encountered during Harrowstorms, it is much weaker and can be destroyed without much trouble. As for Warlord Rukar, he will use Nightblade abilities to fight but will immediately die if the pike is destroyed before him. Once you have succeeded, Lyris will head towards the exit:

Lyris Reddharn: "That's done. Let's tell the jarl what happened here."

Before you leave you can find a letter addressed to the Warlord nearby, it suggests that some of the Reachmen don't agree with the Coven's alliance. Near the exit door is an Atmoran Tablet, which is the lead for Ysgramor's Chosen Body Marking. Once outside, you can hear Lyris remark:

Lyris Reddharn: "If I never have to enter another barrow, it will be too soon."

At this point, you have the option of discussing what you discovered in the barrow with Lyris. In her opinion, you encountered the last stand of that group of Icereach Coven members and the soldiers' act of destroying the other witch pikes stopped a potential attack on Morthal itself. However, she is still curious about the importance of the gray reliquary that Sister Elra took with her. When you return to the Jarl's Hall, you will find Svana and Jarl Reddharn in the middle of swapping stories:

Svana: "And then Maugh threw up, all over the swordthane's boots!"
Jarl Reddharn: "Hah! This Orc friend of yours sounds—ah, your companions return."

Approach the Jarl and report what you discovered. After telling him about the harrowstorm and the fate of the Reachmen and his soldiers, he will thank you for your help and decides to prepare Hjaalmarch for war. After this, Svana will approach his throne with a request of her own:

Svana: "Jarl Reddharn, prepare your forces as you say, but we need you in Solitude."
Jarl Reddharn: "Solitude? I have troubles here in Hjaalmarch. Why should I leave when my hold needs me?"
<Svana kneels.>
Svana: "High King Svargrim won't listen to us, but he might listen to you."
Jarl Reddharn: "Get up, princess. If you think it will help, I'll talk to your father."
Svana: "Lyris, please escort the jarl to Solitude."
Lyris Titanborn: "Of course. What about you?"
Svana: "We need to warn Jarl Olfwenn, so we're going to Karthald."

With the safety of Morthal assured for now, talk with Svana about your next goal. You can ask her about Karthald, which is a Hold that was established a few years prior as a defense barrier against the Reachmen to the south. She will want to gain an audience with Jarl Olfwenn in Karthwatch and asks you to meet her at the Eversnow Inn, which is close to the settlement. If you completed the Karthwatch Objective beforehand, you can report what has happened. Either way, Svana needs another voice of authority to speak with her father.


Something has happened in Karthwatch

The Hold of Karthald and the Eversnow Inn is to the southwest on the main map. From Morthal, you can leave the settlement from the south and follow the main road heading to the west until you find the Eversnow. Along the way, you may encounter Adelrine who can start you on the quest involving Karthwatch. However, if you have already been in the area and found the Southern Watch Wayshrine, you can reach the Eversnow Inn that way. Entering the Eversnow, you will find it filled with injured civilians, survivors of something terrible. Svana can be seen tending to Luthin.

Luthin: "They tore each other apart, right in front of me!"
Svana: "Stay inside. Stick together. We'll … we'll take care of this."
<She notices you and stands up.>

Talk with Svana to see what she knows, according to the villagers the town was hit by a powerful storm. She will want want to further investigate the town, "There could be other survivors. Maybe even Jarl Olfwenn. We need to make a search."

At this, Svana will become your follower and you will need to escort her to Karthwatch, which can be reached by continuing to follow the road west.

Svana: "Let's hurry. Every second we waste could be the difference between life or death."

As you follow the road to Karthwatch, the coven witch—Sister Elra—who you saw in the Morthal Barrow will appear on the ledge adjacent to road and taunt you:

Sister Elra: "You escaped the barrow? No matter."
Sister Elra: "This time we'll harvest all of the gray reliquaries!"
<She teleports in a cloud of bats.>
Svana: "That coven witch, is she the one that escaped from the barrow?"

Along the way, she will appear twice more:

Sister Elra: "Too bad you arrived so late. Your life energy would fit perfectly in my reliquaries!"
Karthwatch has been devastated by a harrowstorm

When you arrive at the outskirts of Karthwatch, the air will be thick with Harrowstorm energies and the signs of storm damage. Karthwatch is effectively destroyed. Sister Elra will be with two warriors as they guard a large urn.

Sister Elra: "Bah, they come. Protect the gray reliquary with your lives!"
<She teleports away again.>

Kill the defenders and smash the gray reliquary, afterwards Svana will be overcome:

Svana: "I need a moment. Let's talk over there."
<She jogs over to the nearby stables and leans against the pillar.>
Svana: "Gods … did all this death serve some dark purpose?"

Talking with Svana about what you have just witnessed, she will have an epiphany about the connection between the reliquaries and the harrowstorms. "Remember what the witch said as we approached the town. This time we'll harvest all the gray reliquaries, she said. That our life energy would have fit perfectly in the urns. I think the harrowstorm steals life energy and puts it in the reliquaries!" Svana will then want to find and destroy any of the gray reliquaries that have yet to be retrieved from around the town.

There are three reliquaries that can be found around Karthwatch, as you search you will need to fight off the Icereach Coven and various vampires which freely wander around. Non-hostile Harrowed can also be found huddling together near structures. Once you have found a reliquary, remove any defenders and smash it up. At the northern site of the town, you'll find Sister Elra.

Sister Elra: "You could not stop the harrowstorm, and you cannot stop me!"

She fights using shadow magic, and vampires will teleport in to support her.

As she dies she'll cry out vengeance:

Sister Elra: "My sisters will avenge me!"

On the northern outskirts of Karthwatch is the mill, where Lodestone can be found for the Bards College collection. Once you have destroyed all the reliquaries you can find, Svana will want to look for the Jarl:

Svana: "That's done. Now let's check on the jarl. Her hall is right up the hill."

Jarl Olfwenn's Hall, is in the southwest area of the town. Near the front door, the book On Harrowstorms can be found. As you enter the hall, you will see that is filled with bodies while a frightened survivor aims a spell at you:

Magister Fridelja: "Stay back! Don't make me—oh, you're not one of the witches or their monsters."

Talk to Magister Fridelja, she will introduce herself as the court mage of Jarl Olfwenn. Ever since the storm struck the town, she has been defending herself from a variety of people, from witches to crazed villagers. At the start of the storm, Fridelja sent the Jarl downstairs to the cellar for protection but had not been able to check up on her.

Magister Fridelja: "The cellar. Jarl Olfwenn is in the cellar. Make sure that she's all right."
Jarl Olfwenn's fate

Svana will follow you downstairs, where you find Jarl Olfwenn in the corner of the room. However, she was transformed into a harrowfiend and can only scrabble at her crown which lies on the floor:

Svana: "Jarl Olfwenn! No! I—I need to get some air. Please, recover the crown of Karthald. We can't leave it down here."

While the princess goes upstairs, you will need to retrieve the crown. Jarl Olfwenn is hostile and needs to be put out of her misery as well. With the crown in hand, you can return upstairs where you'll find Svana apologizing to Magister Fridelja.

Svana: "I'm sorry, Fridelja. Jarl Olfwenn. She's …."

You can then present the crown to Magister Fridelja, while you assure her that she did everything she could you wonder how she managed to survive. At this, Fridelja will recall an incident prior to the harrowstorm and pulls a familiar looking medallion out of her pocket. "Why I didn't turn into a monster is a mys—wait! The hold soldiers clashed with Reachmen scouts a few days ago. They brought back these medallions the scouts were wearing." She is holding an Icereach Coven Medallion and had been preparing to study its enchantments when the harrowstorm struck, leading her to place it in her pocket.

The representative of Karthald

With this revelation, you can talk to Svana. Karthwatch is lost and Svana decides to return to the Eversnow Inn to gather the survivors and bring them to Solitude. Meanwhile, she wants you to return to the capital before her and find Lyris to fill her in. Afterwards, you can meet her at the Blue Palace to come up with a plan to convince her father. Once she has given her orders, she will turn to Magister Fridelja:

Svana: "Magister Fridelja, as the highest-ranking official remaining from the court of Karthald, I need you to come to Solitude."
Magister Fridelja: "Of course, Princess Svana. I'll help you convince the high king."

As you leave the hall you can overhear Magister Fridelja.

Magister Fridelja: "I feel fine, princess. My spells will get us to Solitude, of that I swear."

Back to Solitude[edit]

March of the Harrowed

After leaving the Hall, it is up to you if want to stay in Karthwatch to complete the objective if needed or not. Otherwise you can return to Solitude quickly by using the Southern Watch Wayshrine. Once in Solitude you can look for Lyris, eventually you will find her on the main street of Solitude watching an odd scene.

Shield-Sentry Brunn: "Come on, you brainless cur! This way!"
Shield-Corporal Thjol: "They're worse than drunkards after the mead hall closes!"
Shield-Sentry Jurt: "Shh! Don't mock the cursed! You'll call a hex down upon us!"

The trio of guards are herding a group of docile Harrowed towards the Castle Dour. Talk to Lyris who will explain what has happened as you were gone. Countless harrowed have been brought to the Temple of the Divines, as per High King Svargrim's orders to be cared for. As for Jarl Reddharn, he immediately began lambasting Svargrim as soon as he entered the Blue Palace. At your report of the Karthwatch's destruction, she'll want to know what happened to Svana. After assuring her, Lyris will follow you to the Blue Palace to meet Svana.

Svana's mentioned meeting place in the Blue Palace are her own chambers which can be found upstairs. When you enter, Svana will be conversing with Maugh as Magister Fridelja rests in the corner. You will overhear Maugh cajoling Svana to join him at the Lonely Troll.

Maugh: "The Svana I know would leave all this bother behind. Come back to the Troll and let the royalty deal with this."
Svana: "I am the royalty, Maugh. It's time I started acting like it."
<Maugh will leave the room shaking his head.>

Talk with Svana to complete the quest. While you weren't able to save Karthwatch, you did succeed at your other goals.

"Welcome to the princess's chamber, my friend. I don't remember the last time I spent more than a few moments in here.
Anyway, Jarl Reddharn and Magister Fridelja are here, giving my father an ear full. Thanks for helping me at the holds."
We weren't able to save Karthwatch.
"No, but we saved Morthal and stopped the coven from getting the gray reliquaries at Karthwatch. And we brought the hold leaders here. All of that matters.
Take this. My royal allowance. I was going to buy wine, but you can make better use of it."

You will receive some gold and the Morthal Barrow Breastplate for your services.

Quest Stages[edit]

Danger in the Holds
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
Svana asked to meet with me. I should go to the Lonely Troll and speak to her.
Objective: Talk to Svana
Latest start Svana asked me to meet her at the Blue Palace so we can once again try to convince High King Svargrim of the threat posed by the Icereach Coven and their allies.
Objective: Go to the Blue Palace
The meeting between Svana and High King Svargrim didn't go well. I should speak to her.
Objective: Talk to Svana
In light of her father's unwillingness to act, Svana has decided to take matters into her own hands. She asked me to meet her in Morthal where she seeks an audience with Jarl Reddharn.
Objective: Go to Morthal
Svana wants me to tell Jarl Reddharn about the threat from the Icereach Coven and their harrowstorms. I should talk to him.
Objective: Talk to Jarl Reddharn
Jarl Reddharn's soldiers destroyed witch pikes they found around Morthal, but they disappeared after reporting Reachmen activity at the barrow. I agreed to investigate the barrow and find out what happened to the soldiers.
Objective: Go to the Morthal Barrow
Optional Step: Talk To Swordthane Enyra
We need to search the barrow and find out what the Reachmen are doing here.
Objective: Search Morthal Barrow
We found a witch pike at the heart of the ritual within Morthal Barrow. We need to destroy it.
Objective: Destroy the Witch Pike
Lyris and I destroyed the last witch pike hidden within the Morthal Barrow. We should return to Jarl Reddharn and let him know what we found.
Objective: Return to the Jarl's Hall
Optional Step: Talk to Lyris Titanborn
I should talk to Jarl Reddharn and let him know what we found at the Morthal Barrow.
Objective: Talk to Jarl Reddharn
Now that Morthal is safe, I should find out what Svana wants to do next.
Objective: Talk to Svana
Svana wants me to meet her at the Eversnow Inn, which is southeast of the town of Karthwatch.
Objective: Meet Svana at the Eversnow Inn
Svana beat me to the inn, but the place is full of terrified people. I should talk to Svana and find out what's going on.
Objective: Talk to Svana
Karthwatch has been devastated by a harrowstorm. Svana wants to investigate the town and see if there are any survivors, including Jarl Olfwenn. I should go with her.
Objective: Investigate Karthwatch
The coven witch from the barrow appeared. She seems intent on protecting the funeral urn that she calls a gray reliquary. Svana wants me to destroy it.
Objective: Destroy the Gray Reliquary
We destroyed one of the gray reliquaries that appeared to be part of the harrowstorm ritual. I should talk to Svana and make sure she's all right.
Objective: Talk to Svana
Svana thinks the gray reliquaries are important to the coven. We should find any others still around the town and destroy them.
Objective: Destroy the Gray Reliquaries: 0/3
Hidden Objective: Kill Sister Ehfa
We destroyed all of the gray reliquaries we could find. Now we need to check on Jarl Olfwenn and see if she's all right.
Objective: Go to Jarl Olfwenn's Hall
Inside the jarl's hall, it appears that a battle took place. Dead villagers and harrowfiends litter the room, but there's one person still alive. I should talk to her.
Objective: Talk to Magister Fridelja
Magister Fridelja sent Jarl Olfwenn to the cellar when the harrowstorm began. She asked me to go down there and make sure the jarl is all right.
Objective: Investigate the Cellar
Jarl Olfwenn is dead. Svana requested that I recover the Karthald Crown before returning to the hall above.
Objective: Take the Karthald Crown
I recovered the Karthald Crown. I should present it to Magister Fridelja and tell her what happened to the jarl.
Objective: Talk to Magister Fridelja
It appears that we've done everything we can for poor Karthwatch. I should ask Svana what she wants to do now.
Objective: Talk to Svana
While Svana leads Magister Fridelja and the Karthwatch survivors to Solitude, she wants me to return to Solitude and find Lyris before meeting her in the Blue Palace.
Objective: Return to Solitude
Now that I'm back in Solitude, I need to find Lyris and let her know the princess wants to meet with us in the Blue Palace.
Objective: Talk to Lyris Titanborn
Finishes quest☑ Now that Lyris and I are back together, it's time to go to the Blue Palace and meet up with Princess Svana.
Objective: Talk to Svana
* 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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