Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Not to be confused with A Knife in the Dark.
"We remember what most don't - that the Dragonborn is the ultimate dragonslayer. You're the only one that can kill a dragon permanently by devouring its soul."

A Blade in the Dark is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must slay a dragon to prove to Delphine that they are the Dragonborn. The player is tasked with traveling to Kynesgrove with Delphine to kill the dragon Sahloknir after being resurrected from his burial mound by Alduin after which Delphine will trust the Dragonborn with her identity as a Blade and invite them to assist in investigating the resurgence of dragons.


"Delphine, the innkeeper in Riverwood, is more than she seems. She was the one that left me the note in Ustengrav. She gave me back the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. She went to a lot of trouble to get my attention. I should find out what she wants."


  1. Talk to Delphine
  2. Locate the dragon burial site
  3. Kill the Dragon Sahloknir
  4. Return to Delphine


After renting the attic room in the Sleeping Giant Inn from Delphine (for which no gold is necessary, but 10 gold will be taken from the Dragonborn if they possess it), the Dragonborn will be spoken to by her and given the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, which they were seeking in the prerequisite quest "The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller," after which the quest will begin.

Sleeping Giant Inn[]

Delphine will lead the Dragonborn to a room across the inn. She will ask them to close the door before they can proceed any further. After doing so, she will open a secret passage in the back of a wardrobe that leads down to a subterranean room. There, she will reveal that she took the Horn to attract the attention of the Dragonborn. The note was a safeguard to protect against trickery by the Thalmor. She will also explain that dragons are being resurrected and, after further inquiry, will reveal that she is under the impression that the Thalmor are responsible. In order for Delphine to trust the Dragonborn further she needs to know with certainty that they are, in fact, a Dragonborn and will only be certain if she witnesses them absorb the soul of a deceased dragon. She believes that the next dragon to come back to life will do so east of the town of Kynesgrove according to a dragon burial map based off of the Dragonstone the Dragonborn recovered from Bleak Falls Barrow in the quest of the same name. She will then give the Dragonborn the choice to either travel to Kynesgrove together or go there individually. Before she departs, she will change from her regular clothes into a set of leather armor, and tell Orgnar that he is in charge of the inn while she is traveling and Orgnar will wish her good luck on her journey. From here, the Dragonborn should make their way to Kynesgrove, located in Eastmarch, south of Windhelm.

I'd like to rent a room. (10 gold) "Next to the door, the room on the left."

I'd like to rent the attic room. (10 gold) "Oh, you wanted the attic room? Why didn't you say so the first time? The thing is... we don't actually have an attic room. But I think I know what you mean. Go ahead and make yourself at home."
I'd like to rent the attic room. (10 gold) "Attic room, eh? Well... we don't have an attic room, but you can have the one on the left. Make yourself at home."

"So you're the Dragonborn I've been hearing so much about. I think you're looking for this. We need to talk. Follow me."
"Close the door, then we can talk." (In Delphine's room if the door is open.)
"Now we can talk." (In Delphine's room when the door is closed.)
"The Greybeards seem to think you're Dragonborn. I hope they're right."

You're the one who took the horn? "Surprised? I guess I'm getting pretty good at my harmless innkeeper act."
Sorry, I'm supposed to be meeting someone here. "I hope you're just playing dumb. I'm the one who left the note in Ustengrav."
The Greybeards are right. I am Dragonborn. "I hope so. But you'll forgive me if I don't assume that something's true just because the Greybeards say so. I just handed you the horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Does that make me Dragonborn too?"
What's with all the cloak and dagger? "You can't be too careful. Thalmor spies are everywhere."
I was expecting someone... taller. "Good. The whole point of being in hiding is to appear to be someone you're not."
Here I am. What do you want? "I didn't go to all this trouble on a whim. I needed to make sure it wasn't a Thalmor trap."
What do you want with me? "I didn't go to all this trouble on a whim. I needed to make sure it wasn't a Thalmor trap."
You'd better have a good reason for dragging me here. "It was the only way I could make sure it wasn't a Thalmor trap."
I just came here for the horn. "And now you have it. No harm done. I knew the Greybeards would send you for the horn if they thought you were Dragonborn. Taking it was the only way I could make sure it wasn't a Thalmor trap."
You'd better start explaining. Fast. "I'll explain what I want when I want, got it? You'd already be dead if I didn't like the look of you when you walked in here. But I had to know if the rumours about you were true..."
I don't have time for this. "I shouldn't let you walk out of here, knowing what you know. But I guess even my paranoia had its limits. You know where to find me when you change your mind. Because you will. You have to."
Go on. I'm listening. "I'm part of a group that's been looking for you... well, someone like you, for a very long time. If you really are Dragonborn, that is. Before I tell you any more, I need to make sure I can trust you."
How do I know I can trust you? "If you don't trust me, you were a fool to walk in here in the first place."
Why did you take the horn from Ustengrav? "I knew the Greybeards would sent you there if they thought you were Dragonborn. They're nothing if not predictable. When you showed up here, I knew you were the one the Greybeards sent, and not some Thalmor plant."
You said something about the Thalmor? "Yes. We're very old enemies. (Or The Thalmor. We're old enemies.) And if my suspicions are correct, they might have something to do with the dragons returning. But that isn't important right now. What is important is that you might be Dragonborn."
Why are you looking for a Dragonborn? "We remember what most don't - that the Dragonborn is the ultimate dragonslayer. You're the only one that can kill a dragon permanently by devouring its soul. Can you do it? Can you devour a dragon's soul?"
Yes, that's how I first learned I was Dragonborn. "Good. And you'll have a chance to prove it to me soon enough."
I absorb some kind of power from dragons. That's all I can say. "This is no time to play the reluctant hero. You either are or aren't Dragonborn. But I'll see for myself soon enough."
That's none of your business. "You're wrong. It is my business. You may be the only one that can stop these dragons. But you'll understand that soon enough."
So what's the part you're not telling me? "Dragons aren't just coming back, they're coming back to life. They weren't gone somewhere for all these years. They were dead, killed off centuries ago by my predecessors. Now something's happening to bring them back to life. And I need you to help me stop it."
Do you know how crazy this sounds? "Ha. A few years ago, I said almost the same thing to a colleague of mine. Well, it turned out he was right and I was wrong."
What makes you think dragons are coming back to life? "I know they are. I've visited their ancient burial mounds and found them empty. And I've figured out where the next one will come back to life. We're going out there, and you're going to kill that dragon. If we succeed, I'll tell you anything you want to know."
How did you figure all this out? "You should know. You got the map for me. The dragonstone you got for Farengar, remember."
Right. You were at Dragonsreach when I gave it to him. "So you were paying attention. I arranged to have Farengar recover the dragonstone for me. It's what I do. I make things happen from behid the scenes. After all, here you are." (Only if the player did not give Farengar the stone immediately after being asked)
The dragonstone was some kind of map? "Yes. A map of ancient dragon burial sites. I've looked at which ones are now empty. The pattern is pretty clear. It seems to be spreading from the southeast, starting from the Jeralls near Riften. The one near Kynsgrove is next if the pattern holds."
So where are we headed? "Kynsgrove. There's an ancient dragon burial near there. If we can get there before it happens, maybe we'll learn how to stop it."
Let's go kill a dragon. "I need to get into my travelling gear. Give me a minute and I'll be ready."
Hold on. I'm not ready to go yet. "I can't wait around for you to make up your mind. I'll meet you at Kynsgrove. Don't waste time getting there."


Upon reaching Kynesgrove, Alduin will be flying over the grave. A distraught resident of the town, Iddra, will approach the Dragonborn warning of the attacking dragon:

"No, you don't want to go up there! A dragon... it's attacking!"

A dragon is attacking Kynsgrove? "Well, I don't know. Not yet... it flew over the town and landed on the old dragon mound! I don't know what it's doing up there, but I'm not waiting around to find out!"
Where's this dragon? "It flew over the town and landed on the old dragon burial mound. I don't know what it's doing, but I'm not waiting around to find out!"

After speaking with Iddra, the Dragonborn should travel up the hill towards Alduin. They can also proceed directly to the dragon burial mound without speaking to Iddra, but will be forced into conversation if she is in close proximity.

Alduin is performing a process to bring a dragon back to life and cannot be killed or injured at this time. During this time, the skeletal form of Sahloknir will emerge from the burial mound and will regenerate its musculature and scales while Alduin finishes the resurrection process. Alduin will then proceed to instruct the dragon to kill the Dragonborn and Delphine and leave the area, but only after he and Sahloknir notice the Dragonborn and Alduin taunts them before giving Sahloknir his instructions to kill them.

Sahloknir and Alduin will engage in a lengthy conversation during and after the resurrection, even addressing the Dragonborn themselves before combat occurs, and rushing into combat will cause this dialogue to be skipped.

Alduin: "Sahloknir, ziil gro dovah ulse! Slen Tiid Vo! (Sahloknir, I bind your dragon spirit for eternity! Flesh Time Undo!)"

Alduin uses the Shout to shatter the stone lid on Sahloknir's burial mound, allowing Sahloknir to emerge with a roar and step out before turning his attention to Alduin as his body rejuvenates over his skeleton:

Sahloknir: "Alduin, thuri! Boaan tiid vokriiha suleyksejun kruziik? (Alduin, my lord! Has the time come to revive our ancient realm?)"
Alduin: "Geh, Sahloknir, kaali mir. Ful, losei Dovahkiin? Zu'u koraav nid nol dov do hi. (Yes, Sahloknir, my Champion. So, you are Dragonborn? I see none of the dragonkind in you.) You do not even know our tongue, do you? Such arrogance, to dare take for yourself the name of Dovah. Sahloknir, krii daar joorre. (Sahloknir, kill these mortals.)"

Alduin resurrects Sahloknir.

A follower, along with Delphine, will be useful for distracting Sahloknir. This fight can be made easier by attacking Sahloknir before he has been fully revived by Alduin. This will ensure that Sahloknir is damaged before he takes flight, which he will do immediately when combat begins. If The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard is installed, Durnehviir can be summoned as a means to aid in the fight against Sahloknir. As Sahloknir uses flame-based magic attacks in addition to melee attacks when on the ground, potions of resist fire and resist magic will prove to be useful for negating damage as well as alteration-based shields, restoration-based wards, and resist fire or resist magic armor enchantments. While Sahloknir is in flight, the only effective weapons will be ranged magic and bows and arrows and it can be difficult to land a successful hit. The best opportunity to deal damage will be when Sahloknir has landed and vulnerable to melee attacks.

After killing Sahloknir and absorbing his soul, talk to Delphine. The quest "Diplomatic Immunity" will begin, requiring the Dragonborn to make a choice to either go with her back to the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood or meet her there later. The Dragonborn can enquire further with her about the Blades and the Thalmor.

"I owe you some answers, don't I? Go ahead. Whatever you want to know. Nothing held back."

What do you know about the dragons coming back? "Not a damn thing. I was just as surprised as you to find that big black dragon here."
I've seen that dragon before, the one that got away. "Really? Where?"
It was the one that attacked Helgen, when Ulfric escaped from the Imperials. "Interesting. Same dragon... Damn it, we're blundering around in the dark here! We need to figure out who's behind it all!"

Who are you and what do you want with me? "I'm one of the last members of the Blades. A very long time ago the Blades were dragonslayers, and we served the Dragonborn, the greatest dragonslayer. For the last two hundred years, since the last Dragonborn emperor, the Blades have been searching for a purpose. Now that dragons are back, our purpose is clear again. We need to stop them."

The Blades? Who are they? "Exactly. Nobody even remembers our name these days. We used to be known across Tamriel as the protectors of the Septim Emperors. Those days are long gone, though. For the last two hundred years, we've been searching for the next Dragonborn to guide and guard, as we are sworn to do. But we never found one. Until now."
What's our next move? "The first thing we need to do is figure out who's behind the dragons. The Thalmor are our best lead. If they aren't involved, they'll know who is."
Remind me... who are the Thalmor? "The faction that rules the Aldmeri Dominion. The ones who almost destroyed the Empire during the Great War, thirty years back. There's no worse enemy in Tamriel. The Empire barely survived the last war. The Thalmor don't intent to lose the next one."
Why are the Thalmor after you? "Before the Great War, the Blades helped the Empire against the Thalmor. Our Grand Master saw them as the greatest threat to Tamriel. At the time, that was true. Maybe it still is. So we fought them in the shadows, all across Tamriel. We thought we were more than a match for them. We were wrong."
What makes you think the Thalmor are bringing dragons back? "Nothing solid. Yet. But my gut tells me it can't be anybody else. The Empire had captured Ulfric. The war was basically over. Then a dragon attacks, Ulfric escapes, and the war is back on. And now the dragons are attacking everywhere, indiscriminately. Skyrim is weakened, the Empire is weakened. Who else gains from that but the Thalmor?"
So we need to find out what the Thalmor know about the dragons. Any ideas? "If we could get into the Thalmor Embassy... it's the center of their operations in Skyrim... problem is, that place is locked up tighter than a miser's purse. They could teach me a few things about paranoia..."
So how do we get into the Thalmor Embassy? "I'm not sure yet. I have a few ideas, but I'll need some time to pull thing together... meet me back in Riverwood. If I'm not back when you get there, wait for me. I shouldn't be long. Keep an eye on the sky. This is only going to get worse."

Delphine's disposition with the player will also increase to 3 (ally). At this point the quest will be complete and dragons will randomly spawn in the overworld at any time and actively attack the player, not just at the dragon lairs located around Skyrim.


A Blade in the Dark – MQ106
ID Journal Entry
30 Delphine, the innkeeper in Riverwood, is more than she seems. She was the one that left me the note in Ustengrav. She gave me back the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. She went to a lot of trouble to get my attention. I should find out what she wants.
  • Objective 10: Talk to Delphine
50 Delphine believes that dragons are coming back to life and that the next one will resurrect near the town of Kynesgrove. Once I've convinced her that I'm Dragonborn by killing the dragon, she promises to fully explain who she is and what she wants with me.
  • Objective 20: Locate the dragon burial site
  • Objective 30: Kill the dragon Sahloknir
150 Delphine believes that dragons are coming back to life and that only the Dragonborn can stop them. Near Kynesgrove, we saw a dragon Shouting another one back to life. That dragon is dead, and now it's time for Delphine to give me some answers.
  • Objective 40: Talk to Delphine
200 Delphine believes that dragons are coming back to life and that only the Dragonborn can stop them. It turns out that she was right. Near Kynesgrove, we saw a dragon Shouting another one back to life. After we killed the dragon and I absorbed its power, Delphine accepted that I was Dragonborn as she had hoped, and revealed that she is one of the last members of the Blades, an organization dedicated to protecting the Dragonborn and stopping the dragons.
  • Quest complete



  • If the Dragonborn does not immediately return to the Sleeping Giant Inn with Delphine, then she will wait in The Bannered Mare in Whiterun until they return to Riverwood.
  • If the burial mound has already been discovered, there is an extra dialogue option with Delphine, stating that the Dragonborn already knows where it is located.
  • While the quest is active, dragon locations will be limited to word walls. Random encounters are completely eliminated for the duration of the quest to allow for controlled dragon fights.
  • Despite dialogue options indicating that gold is required to rent the "attic room" and Delphine taking the gold if the player possesses it, no amount of gold is required to progress.
  • When Delphine goes to equip her traveling gear, she will appear to take items from a chest despite the chest being empty.
  • Delphine will not acknowledge your status as Dragonborn if a dragon other than Sahloknir is slain, regardless of any soul absorption.
  • Standing in close proximity to the dragon burial mound when Alduin resurrects Sahloknir will cause the player to be thrown aside, similar to the effects of Unrelenting Force.
  • Even if the Dragonborn has completed the Civil War questline in favor of the Imperial Legion before this point, deceased Stormcloak soldiers, assumed to have been guarding the town, will still be seen around the burial mound.
  • The quest name "A Blade in the Dark" is a play on "A Knife in the Dark" originating from the title of the eleventh chapter of the novel The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien in which four of the book's characters stop at an inn as well as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion quest of the same name. The substitution of "knife" for "blade" refers to Delphine's identity as a Blade.


This section contains bugs related to A Blade in the Dark. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to show
  •  PC   360   PS3   If the quest is started without progression dragons will not appear for wild encounters though dragons at word walls will still be there.
  •  360   Sometimes if the Dragonborn uses the Unrelenting Force shout on Alduin during the quest and hides behind Delphine, they may actually aim his shout at Delphine killing her and making the quest impossible to complete.
  • Sometimes, while venturing to Kynesgrove, hostile actions towards non-hostile characters will result in Delphine turning hostile. Sheathing a weapon will not solve this.
    • Solution: Reload a previous save, use a powerful enough calm spell or use Voice of the Emperor, which is only a temporary solution applicable to Imperials.
  • After Sahloknir is killed, Delphine may only have the dialogue options "What's so important about me being Dragonborn?" and "Who are the Thalmor?"
    • Allowing Sahloknir and Alduin to talk to each other, and the objective "Locate the dragon burial site" to complete, and parting ways with followers may solve this issue.
    • If the Unrelenting Force shout is used on her she may become hostile. Simply loading a previous save will fix this.
    • If Delphine is accidentally attacked, she may become hostile. Leaving the area and going elsewhere, but when arriving at the Kynesgrove burial mound, she may still be hostile and may attack while fighting Sahloknir. Yielding may fix the problem. She may also become hostile to followers who damage her. If someone else is attacked (a guard, for instance), it is possible to have a bounty. Try going back to the place with the bounty and make sure it is paid off or serve the sentence. This should fix the problem. She can be immediately defused using a powerful calming spell and will act normal again. Otherwise, she may attempt to kill a nearby follower if she is capable.
  • If Sahloknir is killed while hovering in midair, occasionally it will continue to do so, with its name but no health bar, not attacking but randomly speaking. Shooting arrows/magic into it will reward experience but will not have any other effects. This bug can be fixed by going back to the last save point (if that was before this bug occurred).
  • If the repeated dialogue bug appears for Delphine after the dragon has been killed, the following things may allow one to proceed:
    1. Make sure The Greybeards have been spoken with and have learned the final part of the "Unrelenting Force" shout;
    2. Make sure the "Become Ethereal" shout was learned, from near the waterfall in Ustengrav (not that far from the 3 stones which activate the gates).
    3. Make sure to activate what was learned by clicking on the altar at the end.
After doing all these steps, go back to Delphine. A new dragon should have just been killed and be disintegrating for the soul to be collected. With Delphine's speech restored, the questline continues.
  • If the above does not fix Delphine's repeated dialogue bug, try the following (PC fix only), and only as a LAST option. Use console commands setstage MQ106 200 to complete the quest. Then use the command MQ201 10 to start the next quest by talking to Delphine.
  • Sahloknir is supposed to crawl out of his burial site as a skeleton. Once Alduin finishes his speech, skin forms around Sahloknir making him complete. There are times when Sahloknir will crawl out of his grave already with skin. When this bug occurs, the visual effects around the grave may also be missing. This can be fixed by avoiding Kynesgrove and going straight to the burial site.
  • When reaching the burial site it is possible to see two dead Stormcloak Soldiers floating in mid-air.
  • On some occasions, Sahloknir may come out of his grave as a Skeletal Dragon, and his skin will not appear, nor will he become hostile.
  • Upon arriving to the Kynesgrove, it is possible for Alduin to freeze in the air and keep shouting at the dragon mound.
  •  PS4   If Dragonborn is installed, there is a chance that Miraak may steal Sahloknir's soul after the dragon is defeated. However, Delphine will still acknowledge the player as Dragonborn and will still give them credit for absorbing Sahloknir's soul.
  •  XB1   while traveling with Delphine when you reach Valtheim Towers, Delphine will notice and comment about the bandit place if you had not raided it yet, and she will immediately disappear.