Skyrim:Kilkreath Ruins

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Nordic Ruin:
Kilkreath Ruins
(view on map) (lore page)
# of Zones 3
Clearable No
Dungeon Yes
Respawn Time Never (storage is safe)
Level Min: 24
Corrupted Shades, Malkoran
Important Treasure
Battle of Red Mountain
Console Location Code(s)
KilkreathRuins01, KilkreathRuins02, KilkreathRuins03, KilkreathRuinsExterior01, KilkreathRuinsExterior02, KilkreathRuinsExterior03, KilkreathRuinsExterior04, KilkreathRuinsExterior05
West-southwest of Solitude
Special Features
# of Arcane Enchanters 1
Kilkreath Ruins

Kilkreath Ruins is a large ruined temple dedicated to Meridia situated below the Statue to Meridia.

This is the only place in Skyrim where you can encounter corrupted shades. The temple is unique, as you must activate many pedestals to redirect a beam of light in order to progress through the ruin. It has three interior zones: Kilkreath Temple, Kilkreath Ruins, and Kilkreath Catacombs.

Until you have retrieved Meridia's Beacon, you are unable to enter the ruins, due to all the doors being locked and requiring a key to enter.

Related Quests[edit]



Kilkreath Ruins during The Break of Dawn

Outside is the Statue to Meridia, which will initiate or progress a Daedric quest to find and return Meridia's Beacon when you approach. Once the beacon has been recovered, Meridia will unlock the doors to the temple in order for you to enter and cleanse the ruin of Malkoran and the corrupted shades he has created from those who have died in the civil war. She sends down a beam of light, which you will need to guide through the ruins in order to open the doors along the route to Kilkreath Catacombs, where you will confront Malkoran. The entrance is to the west, built into the base of the structure supporting the statue. A short distance uphill northeast of the statue is a word wall which teaches a word of the Elemental Fury dragon shout. Visible along the outside of the ruins to the east are large stone sculptures topped with refracting gems, which are used in the related quest.

Kilkreath Temple[edit]

The entrance leads into a wide passage, with stairs down to the south. A black smoke-like atmosphere and the desecrated corpses of the corrupted shades are found throughout the ruins, with the first two corpses lying just inside the entrance. These corpses can be looted for large amounts of gold (see notes). There are also many urns and burial urns within the ruins. At the bottom of the stairs, behind some fallen masonry, is a patch of Namira's Rot fungus. The passage is staggered to the left by a statue, with three burial urns and another desecrated corpse beside it. Farther along, on the left, is an adept-locked door which opens to a short passage with a lever at the end. Opposite this door on the right side of the main passage is a doorway blocked by a lowered metal gate, which is raised by the lever. This provides access to another short passage, which features an unlocked chest and an ancient Nord sword lying next to it.

The passage turns to the east (with another desecrated corpse at the corner), then splits; both directions lead down into the same chamber, with large arches and stone pillars supporting the ceiling high above. In the center is a refracting gem atop a pedestal, with light streaming into it through a hole in the roof. To the right of the pedestal, next to a statue that has been knocked over by falling masonry, is an iron shield, while an iron mace is to the southwest. There are five desecrated corpses in the chamber: one near the iron shield, two among some rubble to the northwest, and two near the southeast corner. There are large double doors at the far eastern end. You will need to activate each of the pedestals you find as you continue through the ruins in order to open doors and continue towards the Catacombs. Beyond the eastern doors is a long flight of stairs down to another opened set of doors, with a white cap fungus before the open doors on the right. Through the doors, you will see two corrupted shades, which appear as little more than a black smoky outline in their original armor. A third shade will join the fight once battle has commenced. When the shades are killed, they leave behind their weapons and form faintly black puddles, similar to those formed by ice wraiths.

Through the doors is a large room, with rows of stone benches facing another pedestal with a refracted gem on top to the east on the first of three rising levels. There is a door down a short passage to the south. The pedestal is on the first level to the east. On the second level is a set of shelves holding a candlestick and eight ruined books, as well as a sideboard with a random empty soul gem on top. The final level has large urns at either end, and double doors in the middle to the east. Both the eastern and southern doors will only open when you activate the pedestal. From the highest level, it is possible to jump on top of the shelves and reach a ledge along the north wall in front of a barricaded room containing a set of shelves holding seven burned books, a ruined book, a leveled invisibility potion, and a damage health poison, all of which are out of reach and require the use of telekinesis to obtain. Alternatively, these items can be dislodged with arrows or spells until they roll close to the ledge. Behind the double doors to the east is a cave-in with a small gap the beam of light can shine through, but you will need an alternate route. The door to the south opens to a room that contains two corrupted shades, two large urns, several windows on the left into the room behind the cave-in, and a set of shelves holding an iron dagger and more ruined books on the left. There is also a wooden door at the southern end of the room.

This door opens to a passage that takes two turns and descends a flight of stairs before reaching another door to another room, which contains two desecrated corpses, two large urns, a sideboard holding a random potion of healing, magicka, or stamina, and an unlocked chest. A passage heading east leads into another large room, with balconies on three sides and wooden stairs leading up to the south and east. There are two corrupted shades in this room: one on the lower level, and the other on the balcony to the north. There is one desecrated corpse on the lower level. The balcony to the east links with the one to the north. A bridge links the northern balcony to a central platform with a refracted gem on a pedestal in the middle, beyond which is a second span of the bridge to the southern balcony that has collapsed, although the gap can be jumped. At the rear of the northern balcony is an arcane enchanter, with a lowered gate, a level-locked iron door, and a large urn to the right. Behind the door is a lever that raises the gate, and behind the gate is an unlocked chest. Once you activate the pedestal, an iron door on the southern balcony will be opened. The southern balcony also features two burial urns and a large urn. Behind the door is a short passage featuring another desecrated corpse and another iron door, which leads outside to a balcony.

Kilkreath Balcony[edit]

The balcony is high on the mountainside far above the road between Solitude to Dragon Bridge, with a view of the Karth River as it winds its way towards Solitude from Markarth in the southwest, as well as Eldersblood Peak far to the southeast. There is a narrow walkway on your left, with an expert-locked chest and stairs leading up to another iron door to Kilkreath Ruins on the far side.

It is possible to climb down onto the balcony without entering the rest of the ruins, but only the chest can be looted this way: both doors, to the Temple and Ruins, are key-locked until Meridia's light has been guided through the Temple. There are six refracting gems on tall statues linking the light from Kilkreath Temple to Kilkreath Ruins.

Kilkreath Ruins[edit]

The interior of Kilkreath Ruins

Through the iron door on the balcony is a passage heading north. Flights of stairs upward past two turns and a large urn lead to a large room guarded by three corrupted shades on the ground level, with a fourth on a caged walkway above. There is a locked iron door in the middle of the south wall. In the southwestern corner is a table with a desecrated corpse and two burial urns on top. A broken stone table beside it has three loose septims, a gold emerald ring, and another burial urn. Two large urns are found elsewhere on the ground level.

Wooden stairs to the east lead up to a balcony, where two sideboards flank another locked iron door. One of the sideboards holds a random potion of magicka and a random potion of resist magic. There is also a short walkway out onto a platform with a refracted gem on a pedestal. Activating this opens the door on the balcony.

The passage behind the balcony door leads to a room guarded by one corrupted shade. To the right of the entrance is a large urn, and along the west wall is a raised area holding four burial urns, with an unlocked chest in the northwest corner next to a passage to the north. On the north wall to the right of the passage, a leveled trap connects to a wooden door that triggers a spear trap from the floor, with a desecrated corpse leaning against the door. This door opens into a smaller room containing an unlocked chest, a large urn, a set of shelves holding a candlestick, a random pair of boots, a random potion, and another random potion of healing, magicka, or stamina, and a sideboard holding an unlocked strong box.

The passage to the north soon turns to the west, where a tripwire triggers a swinging blades trap in the passage beyond. At the far end is a lever that deactivates the trap. From here, the passage turns south and leads out to the large room onto a caged walkway that passes over and around two platforms to a third platform that isn't caged, where the fourth corrupted shade was originally.

From the third platform, jump to a separate platform just to the south to activate the pedestal there. Then return to the third platform and cross a narrow walkway to the north to reach a narrow balcony that wraps around to the west. In the northwestern corner is a stone table with a desecrated corpse on top, as well as a novice-locked chest between two sets of shelves holding an iron helmet, gauntlets, two random potions of stamina, a random potion of healing, and a copy of the Block skill book Battle of Red Mountain. A large urn is to the south, just before the iron door on the west wall unlocked by the previous pedestal.

Through the now unlocked door, the passage leads to another large room guarded by two more corrupted shades. There are four desecrated corpses and four large urns on the ground level. Two flights of wooden stairs lead up to two of four raised sections around the room. The other two areas are blocked by wooden walls. The stairs on the west wall lead up to a small area with a random potion on a plinth with a weight sensitive plate that triggers a single spear from the wall behind.

At the top of the stairs against the east wall, jump to a nearby wooden ledge on the north wall to loot another desecrated corpse. To the east is a doorway to a wide passage, which turns south after a few paces past three burial urns before leading back out onto a platform high above the large room with the caged walkway. On the platform is another refracted gem on a pedestal and another desecrated corpse. Activating this pedestal opens the southern door on the ground level far below you. Either backtrack, or jump down on top of the cage, then to a platform, and finally to the ground. Through the southern door on the ground level is a short flight of stairs descending to an iron door leading to Kilkreath Catacombs.

Kilkreath Catacombs[edit]

Through the door is a wide passage that descends a flight of stairs and turns twice before opening into a large room. The room contains three desecrated corpses, one of which is leaning against the raised section in the middle of the room and has an iron dagger and three loose septims beside it. In both the northeastern and southeastern corners, on small raised sections, is a random potion of healing, magicka, or stamina. In the southeast corner, there is also an unlocked chest and two burial urns.

Activating the final refracting gem on top of the central pedestal opens double doors to the east, which lead to two descending flights of stairs ending in a large room. A powerful necromancer, Malkoran, waits with several corrupted shades. There are eighteen desecrated corpses scattered around the room, along with an iron dagger, an iron shield, and an iron sword. A raised section to the northwest features two large urns and a stone table holding two burial urns and a random potion or poison. Following this section back to the right of the room's entrance, a random potion of healing, magicka, or stamina is on the ground. A similar raised section to the southwest includes three burial urns, two large urns, and a leveled paralysis poison.

After Malkoran and his shade have been destroyed, the one-handed sword and Daedric artifact, Dawnbreaker, will appear in the pedestal where the light from the refracted gems terminates. Upon taking Dawnbreaker, you will be transported high in the sky to commune with Meridia again. Afterwards, the quest will conclude, and you will be lowered to the ground in front of the statue.


  • There are 43 desecrated corpses throughout the ruin, as detailed in the walkthrough above. If you loot them all, you may obtain a total amount of gold in the range of 1075-5375.
  • The last section of Kilkreath Catacombs becomes inaccessible after the related quest. You may not be able to retrieve followers told to wait in that area.
    • If not told to wait, the follower will teleport with you back to the shrine.
    • After 72 hours, a message will appear stating that your follower has grown tired of waiting and has returned to their home or original location.
  • The ruins appear, in a better-maintained form, as Kilkreath Temple in ESO: Greymoor.