Skyrim:Waking Nightmare

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Relieve the people of Dawnstar from Vaermina's curse.
Quest Giver: Erandur
Location(s): The Windpeak Inn in Dawnstar, Nightcaller Temple
Reward: Skull of Corruption or Erandur as a Follower
ID: DA16
Suggested Level: 18
The cause of Dawnstar's nightmares

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Learn of the nightmares of the people of Dawnstar.
  2. Follow Erandur to the Nightcaller Temple.
  3. Fight your way with Erandur to the library, and then find the book The Dreamstride.
  4. Locate and drink Vaermina's Torpor in the laboratory.
  5. In the Dreamstride, find and activate the chain that will release the Miasma.
  6. Take the soul gem to stop the force field.
  7. Make your way to the sanctum and kill Veren Duleri and Thorek.
  8. Choose whether or not to kill Erandur.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

Restless Nights[edit]

Upon entering Dawnstar you hear talk of the inhabitants suffering from terrible nightmares and lack of sleep. Even the Jarl himself is having trouble sleeping, and tension is high. Make your way to the Windpeak Inn, where you will find Erandur, a priest of Mara. He warns that the inhabitants of Dawnstar are in terrible danger, as the nightmares are a symptom of having their memories stolen by the Daedric Prince Vaermina. He explains that the nightmares are being caused by an event that happened in Nightcaller Temple, a ruin located on the clifftop overlooking Dawnstar. Erandur will prompt you to follow him to Nightcaller Temple to put an end to the nightmares.

Temple of Doom[edit]

Erandur opening the way

Make your way with Erandur to the Temple, and speak to him once more outside the door. He will explain why the nightmares are occurring: Many years ago, a group of Orcish invaders attacked the temple, which had been a shrine to Mara before being overrun with Vaermina's priests. To defend themselves, the priests released a gas called "The Miasma", which the priests used to elongate their lives. The concentration of Miasma sent both the Orc invaders and the priests into a sleep that lasted for years. After speaking to him, head inside the Temple. If you have a follower, the follower will not enter.

There is a working shrine of Mara on the left side wall inside the ruined temple. On the bottom shelf of the podium in the middle of the first room there is a book Lost Legends which activates the quest Forbidden Legend. Two skeevers inhabit the hall near the back, and a lectern on the raised area contains books. A novice-level chest is on the right side of the large carving on the back wall. Once the room is cleared, Erandur will unlock the carving with a spell, after which the wall will turn purple and reveal a doorway. Make your way through the opening and follow Erandur to the balcony overlooking the tower's inner sanctum.

The inner sanctum contains the Skull of Corruption, one of Vaermina's artifacts. Erandur explains that the Skull has gained the ability to reach out to people without being wielded, and is stealing memories. The Skull must be destroyed in order for the nightmares to stop. Follow him down the stairs, where you will meet two Orcish Invaders at the bottom. After confronting them, you will find the way ahead blocked by a force field. Erandur will say that there may be a way of opening it, but he would have to search for the answer in an alchemy book located in the locked Library upstairs. Luckily, he has a key—a leftover from when he was himself a Priest of Vaermina. When the Orcs attacked, he had fled, leaving his companions to die, and in his shame over this, he turned to following Mara.

Words of Power[edit]

Follow Erandur back up the stairs and allow him to unlock the door to the library. The inhabitants—Orcish invaders and Vaermina Devotees—will awaken and attack. The Vaermina Devotees fight with lightning as well as conventional weapons, so a Resist Shock potion and other defenses against magic may be useful here. The library is split into two levels. The bookcases on the lower level make it quite a tight squeeze but provide useful cover from incoming spells.

After all the enemies are defeated, Erandur will ask you to help find the book The Dreamstride. This contains the information needed to breach the inner sanctum. The majority of the books in the library are burnt, but a few remain intact. The Dreamstride is located on the upper level in the northeast corner of the room, on a lectern. Take it back to Erandur, who will decipher the book and state that you must use a potion called "Vaermina's Torpor." This allows the taker to use dreams to travel across distances in the real world. As a Priest of Mara, he is unable to use the potion, but says that you will be able to do so. Only the unaffiliated or the followers of Vaermina can use it. To find the potion, go to the laboratory, which adjoins the library.

Mad Alchemist[edit]

Follow Erandur to the laboratory, where you will encounter another Orcish Invader and a Vaermina Devotee. Continue down the corridor, and fight off more Vaermina Devotees and Orcish invaders. You may find it easier to back through the doorway and tackle the enemies one at a time; Erandur is quite capable of dealing with them. After they are defeated, you can look for the torpor—a tall red bottle located on the lower level in a bookcase near the northeast corner of the room. Numerous other alchemical ingredients and potions line the shelves, and on the top level near to where Erandur is waiting, there is a copy of the Alchemy skill book Mannimarco, King of Worms, on a half-buried bookshelf. Speak to Erandur, and he will command you to drink the potion. It's a good idea to save your game here.



Upon taking the potion, you are transported to the inner sanctum in the tower, which you experience in a blurry, psychedelic vision. Two of Vaermina's Devotees are talking. Though everything is quite hazy, you can discern from what they are saying that you have traveled back in time to the moment of the Orc invasion of the temple. One of the men addresses you as "Brother Casimir", and asks if you are ready to release the Miasma.

There is a clattering noise in the background. You cannot access your inventory or map while in the Dreamwalk, nor can you pick up items or fight; you will not get attacked, however. Reply that you are ready, then head down the corridor and into the dining hall. You will see battles and corpses along the way. Make a left into a bedchamber. Head up the stairs and then down the passage on the right. Navigate a winding path onward until you reach the upper level overlooking the sanctum. Locate a chain with a large ring-shaped pull and activate it. This will release the Miasma. You will then awaken.

Breaking the Barrier[edit]

Old friends, Veren and Thorek

When your objective updates to "Disable the Magical Barrier", take the soul gem from just to the left of the pull chain. The forcefield will deactivate. Talk to Erandur, and he will report that you disappeared and reappeared on the other side of the barrier, and that you can now access the Skull of Corruption. Follow Erandur toward the Skull, taking care of several Orcs and Vaermina Devotees you will encounter along the way. You may confront some challenging battles here. Hanging back behind Erandur and some strategic retreats can be an effective tactic, but you will likely face the powerful battleaxes of some of the Orcs on a few occasions, or the Devotees's shock spells, both of which can deal heavy damage. Erandur will pause if he begins to get very far ahead of you.

When you are nearing the Skull shrine, there is an Orc lying in a room who is especially deadly. He won't wake up spontaneously, but if you try to search him, he will come to and say "This better be good." He's very hard to kill and can bring you down with a single strike, according to the skill level you play at. You can awaken him even after completing the quest.

At one point, two Vaermina Devotees, Veren Duleri and Thorek (the two conversing at the start of your Dreamwalk), emerge from the Skull's shrine and argue with Erandur. Your objective becomes to defeat them as they attack you and Erandur. Defeat them, then Erandur will begin to take down a barrier protecting the Skull. But as he does so, Vaermina will speak to you:

"He's deceiving you. When the ritual's complete, the Skull will be free and then Erandur will turn on you. Quickly! Kill him now. Kill him and claim the Skull for your own! Vaermina commands you!"
Erandur calling upon the power of Mara

At this point, you can kill Erandur and take the skull, or spare him and take him on as a follower. Killing him is not considered a crime.

If you ignore Vaermina's command, Erandur will destroy the skull and then offer to travel with you as a follower; he does not betray you as Vaermina would have had you believe. If you choose this option, you will be one Daedric Artifact short of the 15 you need for the Oblivion Walker Achievement. Obtaining two Artifacts from one quest will then be required, and the only way you can do that is by obtaining both the Ring of Hircine and the Savior's Hide from the Daedric quest Ill Met By Moonlight.

After making your choice, the quest will complete. Whichever option you choose, the nightmares will be lifted from Dawnstar.


  • Unless Skald has been replaced as Jarl of the Pale, this quest is one of two required to become Thane of the Pale.
  • The suggested level of 18 is deceiving; that's the minimum dungeon spawning level. Many of the orcs will be hard to beat, even with armor and shield skills in the 60s. The two boss adversaries are always 1.25 times your level with no level cap. Erandur is 1.5 times your level (up to 50), so very difficult to defeat.
  • If you are over-encumbered when you drink the Torpor, you will be over-encumbered for the entire flashback scene, and will be unable to access your inventory to drop items.
  • If, when exiting the Dreamstride, you don't disable the barrier and instead continue on to the skull yourself, Erandur will eventually teleport to the skull room, after a long walk through the dungeon in the opposite direction.
  • If you didn't undress the two orc attackers you killed outside of the barrier, they still won't have their clothes on but in their inventory, when you exit the Dreamstride.


To meet our site's higher standard of quality, this article or section may require cleanup. The user who placed this here had the following concern:
needs yet another cleanup, or at least a few confirmed bugs
To leave a message about the cleanup for this article, please add it to this article's talk page.
  • Saving (manually or automatically) during or after the Dreamstride portion of the quest will cause the game to freeze on consoles or crash to desktop on PC.
    • This bug is fixed by version of the Official Skyrim Patch.
    • To prevent this, avoid saving during this quest, and disable autosaves as well.
    • Alternatively, after removing the barrier to speak with Erandur, if you head outside and save your game, you should be able to re-enter the Temple and save normally.
    • This bug may be related to conflicting follower protocols. Leaving the Temple and dismissing any followers you have, or recruiting and dismissing different followers, may fix this.
    • On PC As the bug originates during the Dreamstride, use the console command tcl, cross through the barrier, and remove the soul gem. Since the quest progress is scripted through the status of the soul gem, this will progress the quest just as if you had used the Dreamstride. The only impact it will cause on the game is that there will be no enemies except two Orcs in the dining room, Thorek and Veren. To remove Vaermina's Torpor, use the command player.removeitem 5f6df 1. If you keep the Torpor and drink it later outside of Nightcaller Temple, a message will appear informing you that it only works inside that location, and the potion will be replaced in your inventory. After the quest is finished the Torpor can be dropped or placed in a container.
      • The enemies can be made to appear using two more console commands: Prid C4DB9 followed by enable.
    • Similar to the fix above, using the Become Ethereal shout may allow you to cross the barrier and grab the soul gem, skipping the Dreamstride sequence altogether.
    • On PlayStation The least complicated method to avoid this bug is to exit the Temple before and after the Dreamstride. Exiting before the dreamstride will enable you to do it again after the dream, or else you will not be able to exit the temple at all.
  • After drinking the Torpor, or shortly after pulling the chain to release the miasma, the game may crash.
    • On PC You can bypass the dream sequence entirely using the console commands player.setstage da16 160 and movetoqt da16 2.
  • Sometimes Erandur will not lead you to the temple, and will stand in place at the inn.
    • This bug is fixed by version 4.2.0 of the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch.
    • Using Unrelenting Force on him may cause him to act normally and start walking.
    • Simply sprinting and bumping into him will sometimes make him move as well, especially if he is stuck next to the bar.
    • Leaving the inn and re-entering may fix the issue.
    • Talking to him, quitting the dialogue and immediately leaving the inn, while he's still talking, will make him teleport next to you outside. After finishing his line, he may lead you to the temple as intended.
    • On PCUse the command prid 24280, followed by moveto player when just outside the temple to move him directly to the entrance of the temple.
  • While following him to Nightcaller Temple, if he engages in combat, is jostled by running, or if you walk too far ahead of him, Erandur may stop moving or walk back to the beginning of his route. ?
    • Clearing the area of enemies beforehand can help prevent this from occurring.
    • On PCThis can be fixed using the prid/moveto method described above.
  • Similarly, Erandur may go up to the door to Nightcaller Temple, or the library door within it, and just stop.
    • Saving then reloading this save should joggle him to continue. Failing that, revert to an earlier save, and if any combat happened before the door in question, use Wait for an hour immediately after the combat, before he goes to the door.
    • Alternatively, you can attack Erandur until he becomes hostile and the door should open when he uses his magic on you. Sheathe your weapon and he will then become passive again.
  • If you let Erandur enter the Nightcaller Temple first, he may not be at the entrance once you enter, but rather farther inside the temple, a place you cannot get to without Erandur's help. This will as a result make the entire quest impossible to complete.
    • To avoid this, make sure to enter the temple before Erandur. (Note contrary advice below.)
    • On PCThis issue can be fixed by entering prid 00024280 into the console, followed by moveto player, which will bring him to your location.
  • If you enter Nightcaller Temple before Erandur, he may be immediately transported farther in without opening the entrance, making the quest impossible to finish.
    • To avoid this, make sure you let Erandur enter the temple before you.
    • It is possible to use the clipping glitch to progress past the initial door. Use the object on the right hand wall if you've just entered the keep, fall down to the room off to the side, and run forward to catch up to Erandur. After completing quest you can use buckets in the temple for easy clipping.
  • At the point where Erandur is supposed to lead you up the staircase to the library, he may get stuck halfway up the stairs:
  • Once you are in the library and have killed the Orcs and Vaermina's followers there, Erandur may simply stand around on the lower level without telling you what to do next. It may require talking to him two or more times to get the next instruction to search on the upper level.
    • On PCThis may be fixed by using the "resurrect" command on the corpse of a dead enemy, and killing them again.
  • Once you have removed the soul gem to take down the barrier, the barrier may not come down. This leaves you unable to talk with Erandur. ?
    • To bypass this, proceed to the last room with the skull on your own. Erandur should be waiting for you there. Make sure you speak with him straight away. If not, he will simply go back behind the barrier. If he isn't waiting for you, then load an earlier gamesave from when you were at the inn. He is bound to show up there. In case you're completely stuck and none of the above helps, go back into the temple, open the console and type these commands: prid 24280 and moveto player.
  • After you have killed Veren and Thorek and are at the point when you have to speak to Erandur, no interaction with him may be possible, including talking.
    • If this happens, run all the way back to the front door of the temple. Go outside and then come back in.
    • On PC Alternatively, open the console, select Erandur, and use the console commands disable followed by enable
  • During the Dreamwalker flashback, you may be unable to pull the chain to release the miasma.
    • On PCA possible fix is to avoid drinking the torpor and use the console command TCL to run to the chain outside of the flashback; while there, you should take the soul gem used to form the miasma. This will skip the entire flashback. Running to the central room with the skull, you will find Erandur and the quest will proceed normally.
  • In addition to attacking Erandur, Veren and Thorek may also attack each other, making this fight particularly easy.
  • In some cases, it may happen that Orcish Invaders and Vaermina Devotees that were defeated before drinking Vaermina's Torpor get replaced with naked bodies, while still having default items in their inventory. Occasionally, they may have standing animations, but horizontally and with their eyes closed, after the dream sequence. In addition, the Vaermina Devotees' inventories are refilled; if they were looted already, this allows you to gain twice as many items from them. The defeated Orc Invaders are not affected by this inventory resetting. ?
    • To fix the animation once the quest is finished, simply save the game after leaving the area and reload it; this should replace the bugged corpses with normal ones (though still naked).
  • If the Dreamwalk sequence did not start for you, you might find that it starts inappropriately at a much later stage in the quest, e.g. when you are supposed to help Erandur fight Veren and Thorek. ?
    • The workaround is to do the Dreamwalk sequence if you like (though you'll likely remain stuck in it even after triggering the Miasma), then open the Console and enter SetStage commands, one after another, for every quest stage up to the point where you are supposed to be in the quest; then do CoC NightCallerTemple01, and go back to where you left Erandur (who may be fighting Veren and Thorek on his own, though there is no need to hurry, as he is Essential and thus unkillable until the ending sequence of the quest).
  • Sometimes Erandur may not do anything to remove the illusion in the entry hall.
    • To fix this you have to hit him a few times and the illusion will be removed when he casts his flame spell.
  • Sometimes after the dream sequence you will be stuck in first person ?
    • fixable by any transformation

Quest Stages[edit]

Waking Nightmare (DA16)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
20 I've overheard two citizens of Dawnstar complaining about horrible nightmares. They seem to be relying on a priest of Mara named Erandur for assistance.
Objective 20: Speak to Erandur
25 Erandur has assured me he can end the nightmares, the source of which seems to be within Nightcaller Temple, a place of worship for Vaermina. I have agreed to assist him in this endeavor and we are now on our way.
Objective 25: Follow Erandur to Nightcaller Temple
Objective 28: Speak to Erandur
Objective 30: Follow Erandur
50 Erandur has revealed that Nightcaller Temple contains the legendary Skull of Corruption, an artifact of great power. In order to end the nightmares, we must breach the inner sanctum and allow Erandur to perform a ritual on the Skull which will render it inert.
Objective 40: Follow Erandur to the Library
Objective 50: Speak to Erandur
Objective 55: Locate "The Dreamstride"
Objective 57: Speak to Erandur
90 From a tome obtained in the temple's library, Erandur has discovered a way to breach the inner sanctum. By obtaining a special liquid, we'll be able to perform a Dreamstride... travel a distance using another subject's dreams.
Objective 60: Follow Erandur to the Laboratory
Objective 65: Speak to Erandur
Objective 70: Locate Vaermina's Torpor
Objective 80: Speak to Erandur
140 With Vaermina's Torpor in hand, I am ready to undergo the Dreamstride. I must drink the liquid which will enable me to enter the dreams of those who still slumber within these walls and use them to breach the inner sanctum.
Objective 100: Drink Vaermina's Torpor
150 I've found myself within the dreams of a priest of Vaermina. I am experiencing the Orc invasion of the temple over a decade ago. In the guise of the priest, I've been tasked with releasing the Miasma and placing everyone inside the temple in a deep sleep.
Objective 110: Release the Miasma
Objective 120: Disable the Magical Barrier
Objective 130: Speak to Erandur
180 After awakening from the Dreamstride, I was able to remove the barrier to the inner sanctum. I must now follow Erandur to the Skull of Corruption so it can be rendered inert.
Objective 140: Follow Erandur to the Skull of Corruption
Objective 150: Defeat Veren and Thorek
Objective 160: Speak to Erandur
Objective 165: Wait for Erandur to dispel the barrier
197 I've heard the words of the goddess Vaermina, who claims that Erandur will kill me after the ritual to destroy the Skull of Corruption is complete. I must make a choice; either allow Erandur to complete the ritual and destroy the Skull, or kill Erandur and wield the Skull of Corruption as my own.
Objective 170 or 180: Murder Erandur or Allow Erandur to complete his ritual
Objective 200: Speak to Erandur
Objective 190: Take the Skull of Corruption
200 Finishes quest☑ I've made my decision, and allowed Erandur to live. The Skull of Corruption has been destroyed and Erandur has offered his services as a companion if I should ever need his assistance.
Finishes quest☑ I've made my decision and Erandur has died by my hands. Unfortunately, the Skull of Corruption was destroyed before I could take his life. Such moments are the misfortunes of the indecisive.
Finishes quest☑ I've made my decision and Erandur has died by my hands. I now possess the Skull of Corruption and look forward to performing my duties for Lady Vaermina.
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 5, 10, 22, 40, 145, 148, 155, 190, 196.
  • Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, 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.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage DA16 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest DA16.