Online:The Despot of Markarth

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Quick Summary: written by MolagBallet, not checked

Walkthrough: written by MolagBallet, not checked

Quest Stages: written by HoodBot, checked by MolagBallet
ON-qico-Zone Story.png Secure an alliance with the Despot of Markarth.
Zone: The Reach
Zone StoryThis quest is part of the Zone Story
Quest Giver: Stories Tab in Collections
Count Verandis Ravenwatch (on road just inside Markarth past gate from Western Skyrim)
Location(s): Markarth, Understone Keep, Valthume
Next Quest: Blood of the Reach
Reward: Ring of the Night Hunter
1 Skill Point
Very High Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Very High Experience XP
ID: 6550
Ard Caddach, the Despot of Markarth
Count Verandis Ravenwatch seeks to uncover a plot to conquer the Reach by an army of vampires and werewolves that calls itself the Gray Host. To succeed, he needs to earn the trust of the region's sovereign: the dreaded Despot of Markarth.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Find information on the rebels.
  2. Talk to Ard Caddach in Understone Keep.
  3. Speak with Lady Belain.
  4. Search for the rebels.
  5. Investigate the Gray Host camps.
  6. Enter Valthume and eavesdrop on the meeting.
  7. Return to Markarth and speak with Ard Caddach.
  8. Talk to Verandis.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

Count Verandis Ravenwatch outside Markarth

Count Verandis Ravenwatch has learned that the Gray Host is active in The Reach, and he would like to stop them. In order to even begin doing so, he needs to cooperation of Ard Caddach, the infamous Despot of Markarth, who rules over the city from Understone Keep. Unfortunately, the ard's sentry is refusing to let Verandis have an audience with the man. Speak with Sentry Bodfe and see if there's anything you can do to get Verandis in to see the ard. He tells you to try to make some sort of deal with the sentry, as the Reachfolk deal in bargains, and to remain respectful so your head remains in its place between your shoulders.

Sentry Bodfe tells you about how the ard is ornery and stubborn, and is just as likely to behead you as he is to hear you out. She mentions a group of rebels which have been giving the ard trouble, and tells you that you might be able to secure an audience with Ard Caddach if you can net some information about them. Your search begins outside the walls of Markarth, down the river and past the exterior entrance to the Outlaws Refuge. There is a circle of three houses southeast of Markarth, south of and across the river from the North Markarth Wayshrine. A pair of Reachmen, Brektor and Ovdella, are standing in front of an abandoned house and having an argument about the aforementioned rebels. If you talk to Brektor, you will learn that the rebels make camp to the east, in the foothills. You'll also learn that they have spies in the city, who are urging people to flee to the foothills. Even so, he's not quite sure where it is, and is reluctant to give you further information.

Next, you should either head down the road east from the North Markarth Wayshrine or cross the bridge and climb the small mountain due east. If you're on the road heading east out of Markarth, take the road north and head past the North Markarth Wayshrine instead of heading straight east from the city. Follow the road, passing the Wildspear Clan Camp. At the fork in the end of the road, you'll come across a camp with a traveler, a merchant, and an injured Reachman named Malkor. He says he was attacked by the witch-rebels, and that they shouted the name of a witch named "Arana" as they attacked. Malkor figures that this Arana is their leader.

Find the rebels

If you haven't already received information about the rebels from the mountain mentioned earlier, head south from Malkor's position, across the bridge, and climb the small mountain on the other side of the bridge. A slope on the west side of the mountain appears quite steep, but is easily passable. If you intend on doing this before heading towards Markarth, simply take the road east coming out of Markarth, cross the bridge and climb the mountain. Atop the mountain is a ledge containing a camp, which two death hounds are guarding. There is a backpack, a heavy sack, a water skin, and a copy of Scary Tales of the Druadach, Book 1 for you to loot and read at your leisure, but these aren't what you came here for. The interesting part is the Gray Host Intelligence Dispatch sitting in the dirt by the cold fire pit. Read the note. These orders are giving the go-ahead for members of the Gray Host to kill any Reachmen they find outside the walls of Markarth at night.

With this information in-hand, head back to Markarth and make for Understone Keep, which is sitting along the western mountain face inside the city's walls. Once inside, speak with Verandis and tell him what you learned. He informs you that the ard is holding court at this very moment, and tells you that you should speak with him. Verandis would do it himself, but he's bugged the ard enough, and doesn't wish to invoke his ire. Speak with Sentry Bodfe, who lets you in to the throne room to speak with Ard Caddach. He's intrigued by the news of spies within Markarth, but what really convinces him that you mean business is the fact that you've brought him the name of the witch-rebels' leader: Arana. He recognizes the name, and informs you that she wasn't fond of his decision to make peace with the Gray Host. The ard made a deal with the Host, ensuring Markarth's safety if he allowed them to search for an artifact. The ard doesn't care about old dirt-covered trinkets, and would prefer his citizens not to be made a meal of by vampires and werewolves, so he accepted the offer. Ard Caddach tells you to speak with his advisor, Lady Belain, if you truly wish to assist him. Lady Belain is capable of answering a variety of questions, but most importantly, she gives you the task of finding the rebels and convincing Arana to cease from meddling in Markarth's affairs. You have the option of speaking with Verandis before you leave Understone Keep.

The Gray Host is active in the area

Your destination lies down the road east and south of Markarth. Follow the road heading east from Markarth. Don't deviate north towards the North Markarth Wayshrine, and don't break off from the curving road to fork out east towards the center of the zone and you should find them on the side of the road. When you approach the camp, you'll be stopped by a warrior named Tayfaern. He doesn't trust you when you tell him you're also hunting the Gray Host. To prove your intentions, he tells you to check out two locations where the Gray Host is stockpiling something. One of these stockpiles lies directly east of the rebel camp, another lies to the southeast, just west of Reachwind Depths. The final location is located even further south, east of Vateshran Hollows.

At the eastern camp, you'll encounter an Icereach Chillrender and a Gray Host Fearmonger. There is a Witch Pike Fragment on the table here. West of Reachwind Depths, you'll find a Gray Host Skullguard and fearmonger guarding a reliquary, which contains Prepared Ashes. Once you take the ashes, head south of the Reachwind Ritual Site. A Gray Host Skirmisher, Fearmonger and Bloodreaver are located on the lower section of the hill this stockpile is located on. A Bloodreaver and a death hound are keeping watch over a shack with a table under it. A Letter from Sister Glynolde is sitting on the table. The letter talks of a meeting which is going to be held at a gathering circle northwest of Valthume Barrow.

Search the Gray Host's stockpiles for information

The gathering circle is a straight shot east from your position by the table which previously held the letter. A camp infested with Gray Host lackeys is in the way between you and the gathering circle. Whether you sneak past them or barrel straight through, killing everything in your path is up to you. The gathering circle is a stone-laden hole in the ground with an altar in it. A Letter from Lady Belain is sat upon the altar. Addressed to one Pentarch Hautring, the letter includes thinly-veiled threats and details of a meeting between her and the Ashen Lord, leader of the Gray Host, in Valthume Barrow. After you read the letter, Tayfaern and Arana enter the gathering circle. She tells you that she leads a gathering of rebels, and when presented with the information that Lady Belain is working with the Gray Host, Arana reveals that Lady Belain is a vampire. Arana's rebels have been trying to hunt her down for several weeks to no avail, but the meeting in Valthume Barrow presents an opportunity. She is intrigued by the prospect of Lady Belain meeting with the leader of the Gray Host, and asks that you listen in on the meeting to see what you can learn. Then, Arana will be willing to work with you.

Valthume is located down the road heading east. Follow the road, enter Valthume Barrow, and search for Lady Belain. Head through the hallways leading south then make your way through the tunnels to the east. The Gray Host inhabits the barrow, so you'll probably need to pick a few of them off as you progress, though most of them are easy enough to avoid. Scant few groups are located in doorways or in the middle of where you need to be going. Pentarch Hautring blocks the way to the meeting, so you'll need to kill him to proceed.

At the meeting, Lady Belain assures Rada al-Saran that she has the ard under her thumb, and informs him that Reachmen will "fill the walls of Markarth like a larder". This suggests that the Gray Host is planning some sort of slaughter at Markarth. Rada al-Saran mentions that all the Gray Host has to do now is to find something called the Arkthzand Keystone. Lady Belain leaves, and Rada al-Saran turns to look at you. He knows someone is watching, and challenges you to follow him as he transforms into a cloud of mist. Speak with Rada al-Saran in the room north of your eavesdropping spot. He affords you the courtesy of a polite conversation, which he informs you is a one-time thing. You can ask him about his history, which he'll tell you in enlightening detail. You can also ask about what he seeks in the Reach, which he will answer honestly, but vaguely. You can also ask him about his alliance with Lady Belain, which he calls an alliance of convenience. Once you're finished speaking with your enemy, return to Ard Caddach's throne room in Understone Keep.

You're going to want to talk to Verandis before you address the ard, who is currently busy speaking with Celennel and Emsold. He seems alarmed when you inform him of your conversation with Rada al-Saran. Verandis figures he and you will need to work quickly in your future dealings before things turn ugly. Next, you'll want to speak with Ard Caddach, who is displeased to hear that Lady Belain is working with the Gray Host. He decides to hold onto her for a while longer though, as it wouldn't be wise to simply turn against her at this point in time. He agrees to speak with Verandis, leaving you to inform your ally of the ard's decision and receive your reward for your part in this investigation.

Quest Stages[edit]

The Despot of Markarth
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
I should speak to Count Verandis and see what kind of information he suggests I seek out.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
Verandis encouraged me to begin my investigation by speaking with the nearby Reach sentry. She might give me an idea as to what type of information Ard Caddach would consider important enough to meet with us about.
Objective: Talk to Sentry Bodfe
The sentry mentioned that the ard's soldiers have been called back to Markarth because Caddach feels the rebels are a bigger threat to the city than the Gray Host. I should explore east of the city and see what I can learn.
Objective: Gather Information: 0/3
Hidden Objective: Gather Information
I learned that the rebels may be gathering in the foothills east of Markarth, that someone named Arana may be their leader, and that the rebels are hunting the Gray Host. Now I should go to Understone Keep and find Verandis.
Objective: Go to Understone Keep
I need to tell Count Verandis what I learned about the rebels and the Gray Host.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
I arrived in Understone Keep. Now, I should speak with Sentry Bodfe. Hopefully she'll give me permission to speak with Ard Caddach.
Objective: Talk to Sentry Bodfe
I should approach the throne and share what I learned with Ard Caddach, the Despot of Markarth. Hopefully, this conversation will help us gain a better understanding of the Gray Host's plans for the region.
Objective: Talk to Ard Caddach
Ard Caddach asked me to speak to his advisor, Lady Belain. He wants me to help her find the rebel leader Arana before he agrees to meet with Count Verandis.
Objective: Talk to Lady Belain
Lady Belain wants me to search for Arana and the rebels in the foothills to the east of Markarth. A favor for a favor, as she said.
Objective: Find the Rebels
Optional Step: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
I came across an encampment that may belong to Arana's rebels. A sentry noticed me and called out. I should talk to him.
Objective: Talk to Tayfaern
Tayfaern, a member of Arana's rebels, wants me to investigate a few Gray Host stockpiles and tell him what they're storing there. If I perform this favor, he might introduce me to Arana.
Objective: Investigate Gray Host Stockpiles: 0/3
The Gray Host stockpiles contained gray reliquaries and witch pikes. I also found a letter that mentioned a gathering circle, northwest of Valthume Barrow, where a spy meets with the Gray Host. I should investigate before I return to the rebel camp.
Objective: Investigate the Gathering Circle
It looks like this gathering circle has seen recent use. There's a letter on the table. I should read it.
Objective: Examine the Letter
As I prepared to leave the ruin, the rebel witch, Arana, appeared. I should speak with her.
Objective: Talk to Arana
A note in the gathering circle confirms that Lady Belain is working with the Gray Host, and Arana revealed that Belain is also a vampire. I need to go to Valthume and observe a meeting between her and the Gray Host leader.
Objective: Go to Valthume
I arrived at the barrow called Valthume. Now I need to find Lady Belain and the Gray Host leader.
Objective: Find Lady Belain
I found Lady Belain speaking to the leader of the Gray Host. I should observe from the shadows to learn their plans.
Objective: Eavesdrop on Lady Belain
Rada al-Saran, the leader of the Gray Host, sensed my presence. He requested that I follow him. This might be my only opportunity to see what he has to say.
Objective: Talk to Rada al-Saran
I should return to Ard Caddach's throne room in Understone Keep to tell Count Verandis and Ard Caddach what I learned about Lady Belain and the Gray Host's plans.
Objective: Return to Ard Caddach's Throne Room
I should inform Count Verandis about what I learned before I speak to Ard Caddach.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
I should tell Ard Caddach about all that I discovered. Hopefully, we'll find out where he stands on the coming conflict with the Gray Host.
Objective: Talk to Ard Caddach
I should talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch and let him know Ard Caddach's response.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
Finishes quest☑ I should go to the Reach and look for Count Verandis Ravenwatch.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
* 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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