Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

A Daedra's Best Friend is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must assist Barbas, the hound of Clavicus Vile in returning to his master's shrine in Haemar's Shame.


"I ran into a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master and wanted my help. He's waiting outside Haemar's Shame."


  1. Talk with Barbas
  2. Travel with Barbas to the shrine of Clavicus Vile
  3. Join Barbas outside Haemar's Shame
  4. Retrieve the Rueful Axe with Barbas
  5. Return to the shrine of Clavicus Vile with Barbas and the Rueful Axe
  6. Give the Rueful Axe to Clavicus Vile or kill Barbas with the Rueful Axe
  7. Speak to Clavicus Vile


"My master and I had a bit of a falling out. We got into an argument and it got rather... heated. He's kicked me out until I can find someone who can settle our disagreement. That's where you come in."

The quest can be obtained once the Dragonborn reaches level 10. A guard or Lod himself (whether the quest "Some Light Theft" is completed or not) will say he has been looking for a dog and spotted one near the entrance of Falkreath. Lod can be persuaded for half payment (25 Gold can be received) or the task can be taken.

Barbas can be found west of Falkreath along the road beyond the fork where he will approach the Dragonborn. They can return to Lod once Barbas is found, hand in the quest and then return to Barbas where he is waiting. Barbas will also warn the Dragonborn not to make any deals with Clavicus Vile.

Barbas will lead the Dragonborn to Haemar's Shame where the Dragonborn and Barbas will fight vampires and their thralls together, depending on current level. Haemar's Shame is located directly in between Ivarstead and Fort Neugrad. There are a few leveled enchanted items, an arcane enchanter and an alchemy lab. The Shrine of Clavicus Vile is located deeper in the cave, guarded by four to five vampires. Activate the statue of Clavicus Vile and he will ask what he can do for the Dragonborn.

The Dragonborn will be tasked with retrieving the Rueful Axe from Rimerock Burrow. Barbas can be kept as a follower or told to stay. Behind the statue on the upper walkway is a chest with some leveled items and a chain that opens a barricaded tunnel leading back to Skyrim.

Barbas can provide history on the Rueful Axe if asked, saying: "One of Clavicus's little jests. A wizard named Sebastian Lort had a daughter who worshiped Hircine. When the daughter became a werewolf it drove Sebastian over the edge. He couldn't stand to see his little girl take on such a bestial form. The wizard wished for the ability to end his daughter's curse. Clavicus gave him an axe."

Rimerock Burrow is a small cave in the far northwest of Skyrim. At the end of a short tunnel, there will be a flame atronach and Sebastian Lort, a Breton mage. He may summon a frost atronach. The axe itself will be lying on a long table opposite an Arcane Enchanter. Behind them is a room with a chest containing leveled loot.

The Dragonborn must now return to Clavicus Vile. They are given a choice to either kill Barbas and keep the Rueful Axe or to spare Barbas and receive Vile's boon, the Masque of Clavicus Vile. Once the choice is made, the quest is finished, and the reward is received.

Clavicus Vile[]

Lord Vile, I have a request of you. "By all means, let's hear it. It's the least I could do, since you already helped me grant one final wish for my last worshippers... They were suffering so from vampirism, and begged me for a cure. Then you came in and ended their misery! I couldn't have planned it better myself. So, what's your heart's desire? What kind of deal can we strike?"

I'm just here to reunite you with Barbas. "Ugh. That insufferable pup? Forget it. Request denied. No deal. I'm glad to be rid of him. Even if it does mean I'm stuck in this pitiful shrine, in the back end of... nowhere. Well... perhaps there is a way he could earn his place back at my side. Maybe. But no promises."
An end to the civil war that plagues this land. "Oh, if I had my full power, granting that would be trivial. I'd simply snap my fingers, and everyone in Skyrim would die. War resolved. As much as I hate to say it, you're almost as powerful as I am right now. But that's just because half of my power resides in that mutt, Barbas. Come to think of it, I know of a win-win situation for both of us."
The power to crush all before me! "Really? Power? You're a dragonborn; you already have more power than most people who aren't immense, fire-breathing monsters. (Or "Really? Power? Haven't you already killed enough of your foes using the more mundane means at your disposal? Swords, magic, etc.? How...uninspired." If "Dragon Rising" is completed) As much as I hate to say it, you're almost as powerful as I am right now. But that's just because half of my power resides in that mutt, Barbas. Come to think of it, I know of a win-win situation for both of us."
What's your offer? "There's an axe. An incredibly powerful axe. An axe powerful enough for me to have quite a bit of fun, indeed. If you bring it to me, I'll grant you my boon. No strings attached. No messy surprises. At least, not for you. As I recall, it's resting in Rimerock Burrow. Barbas can lead you right to it. The little mutt might even earn his place back at my side."

If approached again:

What did you want, again? "In Rimerock Burrow, there's an artifact called the Rueful Axe. Bring it to me, and I'll take Barbas back. Simple as that."

After obtaining the axe:

"Ah, you've got the axe! And my dog. Splendid."

We're back. Now fulfill your end of the bargain. "Excellent work. A hero and his (Vile will say this even if the Dragonborn is female) faithful companion, retrieving the ancient artifact for the prince. It's almost... storybook. Ah, but it almost seems a shame to give a weapon like that away, doesn't it? I suppose I could be persuaded to let you keep it... But only if you use the axe to kill Barbas. Simple as that."
I sure would like to keep this axe... "And I could absorb the spirit of poor, dead Barbas. He'd still be reunited with me. And I'm sure Barbas doesn't want me to have that axe. He'd want it this way. The choice is yours, friend. We're all counting on you to make the right decision. Put him out of our misery!"
No deal. Take the axe and take back Barbas! "Hrmph. You're no fun at all. Guess I'll have to make my own fun elsewhere. And with the pup back, I'll be restored to my full power. There's a whole world just waiting for me!"

If told to kill Barbas, and approached again:

I've been thinking it over... "And?"

After killing Barbas:

He's dead. Are we done here? "Absolutely! Now I can reabsorb his body, and return to full power. All without having to listen to his whining. Oh, sure, he'll be back in a century or two, but think of the fun I can have 'til then. Enjoy that axe! And don't worry about poor old Barbas. After all, he really should have picked a better friend..."


In Dawnguard, one may come across Barbas and the statue at Haemar's Shame. He may still be there, depending if one has done this quest. During the Dawnguard mission, if Barbas is still alive he will try to kill the vampires they are fighting. He never dies and therefore, provides good help.


Introduction – DA03Start
ID Journal Entry
5 A guard outside Falkreath mentioned the Blacksmith Lod is looking for a Dog and offering a reward.
  • Objective 5: Speak to Lod
  • Objective 10: Find the Dog outside Falkreath
  • Quest complete
A Daedra's Best Friend – DA03
  • Objective 20: Talk with Barbas
25 I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who said he wanted my help. He's waiting outside Haemar's Shame
  • Objective 25: Join Barbas outside Haemar's Shame
50 I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who said he had a falling out with his master and wanted my help. He's waiting outside Haemar's Shame.
  • Objective 50: Travel with Barbas to the shrine of Clavicus Vile
70 I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. Clavicus has agreed to take Barbas back if Barbas and I retrieve the Rueful Axe.
  • Objective 100: Retrieve the Rueful Axe with Barbas
  • Objective 110: Return to the shrine of Clavicus Vile with Barbas and the Rueful Axe
  • Objective 150: Give the Rueful Axe to Clavicus Vile OR kill Barbas with the Rueful Axe
150 I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. I've retrieved the Rueful axe for Clavicus. I can keep the axe if I kill Barbas or I can return the axe, reunite Barbas and Clavicus Vile and receive the Masque of Clavicus Vile.
155 I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. I've retrieved the Rueful Axe for Clavicus who offered me a deal. I decided to kill Barbas and keep the Rueful Axe.
  • Objective 155: Speak to Clavicus Vile
200 I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. I've retrieved the Rueful Axe for Clavicus who offered me a deal. I decided to reunite Barbas and Vile and received the Masque of Clavicus Vile.
  • Quest complete
  • Quest complete



  • This is one of the few Daedric quests where the Dragonborn is not supposed to kill the daedra's target in order to receive the artifact.
  • If Barbas is killed, Clavicus Vile will mutter, "He should have chosen a better companion."
  • If this is the last Daedric Artifact needed for the Oblivion Walker achievement, and you wish to keep the Rueful Axe, save before making the choice then choose to take the mask, so you will get the achievement, then load the most recent save file, kill Barbas and both the axe and the achievement can be obtained with the same save.
  • If Clavicus Vile is asked for, "The strength to crush all who oppose me!" when first encountered, he will act surprised, remarking that the Dragonborn's strength is unrivaled already, and that giving them any extra power would be redundant.
  • Barbas can be kept as an invincible follower if the player chooses not to complete the quest. He does not occupy a legitimate follower slot, so the Dragonborn can have multiple followers.
  • Prior to starting the quest, a leveled conjurer will inhabit Rimerock Burrow. When the quest is started, the conjurer will be renamed Sebastian Lort.


This section contains bugs related to A Daedra's Best Friend. 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 Bugs
  • If Barbas is addressed during the final dialogue, he does not join the shrine, and thus the masque may not be given.
  •  PS4   If Barbas is addressed while in the process of returning to Oblivion, then interacting with the shrine will cause it to disappear, and the game crashing soon after.
  •  360   If this quest is completed successfully with 49 dungeons cleared, the Delver Achievement will be earned.
  •  360   Barbas may stop randomly and not move during the quest. This may take place near Haemar's Shame or after initially speaking with him. To fix this, fast travel somewhere and on return he should have entered the cave. He might be found near the shrine later on. Using Destruction magic on him will get him moving.
  • Sometimes Barbas may have trouble when traveling through Helgen. He may proceed into Helgen, wander around and walk back out repeatedly. Opening the eastern gate in Helgen may resolve the problem, as Barbas then follows the Dragonborn towards Haemar's Shame.
    •  360   This bug can be fixed by killing all of the enemies in Helgen, including the one atop the tower on the right after entering Helgen.
  • Sometimes, while following Barbas, upon running into a Vigilant of Stendarr, Barbas will disappear. To fix this, go to Haemar's Shame, and the Dragonborn will meet Barbas there.
  •  PC   If Barbas encounters the skeleton of a dragon blocking his path, such as the remains of a dragon killed recently in Falkreath, he may stop to sniff at the skeleton like any other dog in the game and be unable to proceed.
    •  PC (Fix)   The dragon skeleton can be moved out of Barbas's path using the Unrelenting Force shout. Traveling to Haemar's Shame (or using one of the other methods mentioned above) will also reunite the Dragonborn with Barbas. The player can also open the console (~), click on Barbas, close the console, move the Dragonborn a ways past the obstructing skeleton, open the console again, and use the console command moveto player to move Barbas to the far side of the skeleton, where he will proceed on his path (or simply use Barbas's reference ID with the "moveto player" command instead of clicking on him).
  •  PC   Lod may die in a dragon attack. If he dies, the quest cannot be obtained.
    •  PC (Fix)   Clicking on Lod while in the console commands (~) and type in resurrect to bring him back to life permanently or until he is killed again.
  •  PS3   Barbas may run into a locked door and float up into the air until the door is unlocked.
  •  360   PS4   Sometimes at the start of the quest Barbas will not appear, making the quest uncompletable.
  • If attacked while following Barbas, there is a chance he will go somewhere close and stop walking for a while.
  •  360   At the very beginning of the quest while following Barbas, he may wander ahead while an enemy is encountered, and he does not stop to help fight. By making the quest primary and following the marker to Barbas, he can show up stuck in a glitch in the terrain in random areas. Hitting him with a few Destruction spells will transport him back to the nearest road, and he will resume the trek to the quest location.
  •  360   Accepting the Masque may cause the game to freeze and cause the Dragonborn to be forced to accept the Rueful Axe.
  •  360   DG: If the blacksmith of Ivarstead is spoken to, but one has not run into Barbas yet, by the time the Dragonborn does "Touching the Sky," he may run up after Prelate Sidanyis activates the wayshrine in Darkfall Passage, causing the quest to continue from that point.
  • During the final dialogue, if Barbas is spoken with after choosing the masque over the axe, Clavicus may disappear, leaving Barbas in "real dog" form.
  •  360   Sometimes another beast follower may not be allowed, such as a dog, death hound, or armored troll, until after the quest is finished, because the game thinks Barbas is still following the Dragonborn.
  • While following Barbas to Haemar's Shame, he may randomly teleport great distances.
  • If already having killed the dragon attacking Western Watchtower but have not yet unlocked Falkreath, upon entering Falkreath a dragon will attack and there is a high probability that Lod may be slain in the attack.
  •  PC   After retrieving the Rueful Axe and returning to Haemar's Shame, there will be no option to initiate dialogue with Clavicus Vile, leaving the quest unable to be finished.
  •  PS3   If the Dragonborn reunites Barbas with Clavicus Vile, the option to activate the shrine will remain after completion of the quest, but nothing will happen if they choose to do so. Killing Barbas with the Rueful Axe however, will prevent this.
  •  PS4   Horses might stop being able to move upon fast traveling while Barbas is following. Exiting the game and reloading should fix this issue.