Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Not to be confused with Blindsided.

Blindsighted is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which serves as the penultimate quest given during the Thieves Guild questline in which the Dragonborn must find Mercer Frey in Irkngthand and recover the Skeleton Key.


I'm on my way to Irkngthand, a vast dwarven ruin that supposedly contains the legendary "Eyes of the Falmer." Karliah and Brynjolf are waiting for me within. Together we hope to stop Mercer Frey from stealing the Eyes and escaping from Skyrim with the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal.


  1. Travel to Irkngthand
  2. Speak to Karliah
  3. Locate Mercer Frey
  4. Slay Mercer Frey
  5. Retrieve the Skeleton Key
  6. Escape from Irkngthand
  7. Speak to Karliah


Upon arriving at Irkngthand, be wary of the bandits who have set up camp here. It will be necessary to fight a way up to the top to gain entry to Irkngthand.

Note: If this quest has not been started, full entry to this dungeon cannot be attained (Dungeon Lock Outs). Also, any follower with the Dragonborn cannot enter the ruins whilst this quest is active; they will be waiting for the Dragonborn in Bronze Water Cave.


Once inside, go across the hall and grab the loot in the chest by the fire and bodies. On both sides of the fire are two Dwemer chests, one with an adept lock and the other a master lock. Continue on up the stairs. Make a right, then move forward, down the hallway. Go past the water and through the gates into the next hall. To the right at the end of the ledge is an unlocked chest, and another one can be located down near the patrolling sphere. There is also a Dwarven Sphere patrolling at the bottom of the stairs. If detected, more of them will come out the holes in the walls, so dispatch them as quietly as possible. (One way is to use a sneaking bow attack and kill them one by one.) It is also possible to sneak past the spheres without being noticed. Go to the left of the gate and jump over the fence, then go into stealth and sneak past the one sphere that deployed. In the next room, rotating flame towers will activate. Move around these without making too much noise. The towers are slow enough to sneak through them if timed well. At the final flame tower, go around it to the left and then open the gate to the right of it. Move up the stairs until the master locked gate is reached. In front of the Dragonborn, there will be a ramp with a Dwarven Spider on top. Kill it and hop over the rubble pile to find a hidden chest. Opposite of the master locked gate is a lever. Pull it, and it will open a new area where Karliah and Brynjolf are waiting. Speak to Karliah, and she will explain about the traps that Mercer may have left.

There will be a trap trigger on the bottom left of the doors in front. Disarm the trap, or open the doors and avoid the flying mace ball trap. On the small table is a bottle of Black-Briar Reserve (presumably a calling card from Mercer Frey), and three lockpicks. Turn left and head down the stairs; there will also be an expert locked gate full of loot to the left. Karliah will spot Mercer and a short scene will take place. Afterward, follow the path around and open the door, then down until the next hall is reached.

Upon entering the next hall, turn right and collect the Falmer chest on the right side next to the Falmer hut, then turn around and head over a small mound to find the lever for the gate below. There is a second lever on the right side, across the large set of facing stairs that must be activated quickly after the first, or it will reset and the door will not open. Once the door is open, travel down the stairs, watching for the spinning blades in the ground, and go through the door. Move through the large area, killing the small groups of enemies. Once at the other end, a collapsed tower can be seen, and it is necessary to go up the spiral ramp and through the door at the top. Before leaving the room, make sure to stop and collect the loot that is in the Falmer chest, which is located next to a Falmer tent to the left on the way to the ramp out.

Go down the stairs, carefully avoiding the bear traps. Grab the Detect Life scrolls; there is one near the table on the floor and two in the room to the right. In the room with the two Detect Life scrolls, there will be writing on the walls from Mercer Frey that says, "One Step Ahead - Mercer." The writing, however, is backwards. Travel through the other gate (be cautious for more bear traps), then through the door at the end of the corridor, which leads to a large hall. Brynjolf will explain that the options are to either sneak around or take on the Dwarven Centurion. The level of this enemy is determined by the Dragonborn's Character Level: 10–15 will face a regular Centurion, levels 20–30 will most likely be a Centurion Guardian, and levels 45+ will face a Centurion Master. Because there are a lot of Falmer in this room, it is possible to jump off of the small bridge to the right. On the left, there will be a button that activates the Centurion. Activate it, and the Falmer will become hostile and weaken or kill the Centurion with no intervention from the Dragonborn.

Regardless of the choice, continue to the cage, and then go up the stairs. There should be a path that leads up and around to the next destination. Be cautions of more Falmer traps. Past the bear traps, there should be some frostbite spiders and Falmer across the hall. Once they have been dispatched, collect the loot in the chest next to the Falmer tent at the bottom of the stairs and go through the door leading to the Irkngthand Slave Pens. Go down the stairs and quickly kill the Dwarven Spider, then head left and continue down the stairs. Activate the lever and a spinning blade will take out the two Falmer down below; remember to turn it off before continuing. Run down the hall, but be careful of the three flame pressure plates near the corner.

Once in the next hall, Karliah will say that there are a lot of Falmer in the next room, and will give the option to either sneak or take them on. If it seems easier to sneak past, simply go to the far right-hand side wall and follow it all the way around, into the pen with a small cave at the rear. There is a chest next to the first fire pit in a Falmer tent, and another one in a tent directly across from the first. After the cave, the party will be in a larger cave, with two leveled Falmer in front. Continue down the ramp, and there will be several chaurus, along with another Falmer. If the Sneak skill is high enough, it is possible to bypass the chaurus and Falmer by sneaking along the golden pipes above their heads. Continue through the rear of the cave onto a downward hill, making sure to kill the Falmer before dropping down. Head through the gate, then down into Irkngthand Sanctuary. Note: there are a number of quest-breaking glitches in the next stage, so be sure to create a save before entering the door.

Slaying Mercer Frey[]

"When Brynjolf brought you before me I could feel a sudden shift in the wind. And at that moment, I knew it would end with one of us at the end of a blade. Nocturnal doesn't care about you, the Key or anything having to do with the Guild."
Mercer Frey[src]
Statue of the falmer

Mercer Frey prying off the eyes in the statue

Mercer will be removing the eyes of the statue as the party enters. He will spot the group, and then make the part of the ledge the Dragonborn is standing on collapse. Before the battle begins, he will converse shortly with the Dragonborn about the Thieves Guild and honor before engaging in combat.

Subsequently, he will use a Frenzy-type spell on Brynjolf, making him attack Karliah, and thus rendering them unable to help with the fight. The following are strategies to battle him:

  • Mercer uses an invisibility spell.
    • The Detect Life scrolls, or, if the scrolls were not taken, the Detect Life spell, the Aura Whisper Shout, or, if the Dragonborn is a werewolf, the Scent of Blood power can reveal him.
    • Mercer likes to hit-and-run; he will turn invisible, sprint up to one of two high points in the room; by the statue's head, or a high spot on the other side of the cavern, behind a pillar. After hiding for a couple seconds, he will spring towards the Dragonborn and inflict one or two power attacks before turning invisible again and retreating. Note that Mercer carries lots of healing, stamina and magicka potions, which he will most likely use during the fight.
      • If in werewolf form, moving forward while doing a power attack will knock him off of his feet, leaving him defenseless.
      • Conjuring an Atronach will help, especially a Storm Atronach to drain his magicka, as an Atronach can still see him when he is invisible.
      • If the Dragonborn prefers bows and arrows, the Archery perk, Power Shot, can knock him off balance, preventing him from approaching the Dragonborn as easily.
      • Another way to defeat Mercer is using Windshear, found during the Dark Brotherhood quest, "Hail Sithis!." When Mercer casts Invisibility, he will still be under Windshear's permanent stagger, and will not move away. After a few strikes, a blood covered silhouette will appear at his location.
      • Alternatively, the Dragonborn can stand in front of the face of the statue and get Mercer to chase them before using the Unrelenting Force shout to throw him off the edge. This tactic may not kill him; however, he should take significant damage.

Once Mercer is dead, loot both the Skeleton Key and the Eyes of the Falmer from his body, including anything else on him, that being his weapons, gold, potions, and more. His death will also break the spell on Brynjolf and allow him to regain control of his body and stop attacking Karliah.

Escaping from Irkngthand[]

Brynjolf and Karliah will jump down and the chamber will start filling up with water. Once the water is high enough, a rock above the statue's head will fall off and open up an area above it. Head into the area, which will lead to an entrance to Bronze Water Cave.


Upon speaking to Karliah, she will explain that returning the key will not be easy. The inner sanctum has been locked due to the fact that the Nightingales failed to protect the key in the first place, and the only way through is via the Pilgrim's Path. Brynjolf will head back to the guild while Karliah is too afraid to face Nocturnal after her failure, so the Dragonborn must do this alone. After telling the Dragonborn to return the Skeleton Key, she will hand over the Nightingale Bow.

Karliah will tell the Dragonborn about the various "Agent" aspects that can be assumed at the end of the quest.


Blindsighted – TG08B
ID Journal Entry
10 I'm on my way to Irkngthand, a vast dwarven ruin that supposedly contains the legendary "Eyes of the Falmer." Karliah and Brynjolf are waiting for me within. Together we hope to stop Mercer Frey from stealing the Eyes and escaping from Skyrim with the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal.
  • Objective 10: Travel to Irkngthand
20 I've entered Irkngthand, a vast dwarven ruin that supposedly contains the legendary "Eyes of the Falmer." Karliah and Brynjolf are waiting for me within. Together we hope to stop Mercer Frey from stealing the Eyes and escaping from Skyrim with the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal.
  • Objective 20: Speak to Karliah
30 Karliah and Brynjolf have joined me in my exploration of Irkngthand, a vast dwarven ruin that supposedly contains the legendary "Eyes of the Falmer." Together we hope to stop Mercer Frey from stealing the Eyes and escaping from Skyrim with the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal.
  • Objective 30: Locate Mercer Frey
40 I've finally located Mecer [sic] [Do not change this to Mercer. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.] Frey within the ruins of Irkngthand. He seemed to be expecting us, and I'm afraid he led us here with the express purpose of eliminating the Nightingales once and for all.
  • Objective 40: Slay Mercer Frey
45 Mercer Frey, betrayer of the Thieves Guild and Gallus's murderer is finally dead. Upon his death, a wave of magic issued from his body and has caused the already crumbling chamber to collapse and fill with water.
  • Objective 45: Retrieve the Skeleton Key
50 Mercer Frey is dead and I've recovered the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal from his corpse. I need to escape Irkngthand before the place collapses around me.
  • Objective 50: Escape from Irkngthand
60 Safe from the dangers below, Karliah, Brynjolf and I finally have a moment to breathe. Mercer Frey is dead, the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal is in my possession and, most importantly, the Nightingales have survived.
  • Objective 60: Speak to Karliah
200 Karliah, Brynjolf and I have slain Mercer Frey, escaped Irkngthand and recovered the Skeleton Key. All that remains is returning the artifact to the Twilight Sepulcher where it belongs; a journey I must undertake alone.
  • Quest complete



  • At the end of the mission, Karliah's dialogue is wrong.
  • This is the only Daedric quest that does not award the Dragonborn with a personal artifact. The received Skeleton Key counts as a quest item for the next quest, so it is impossible to keep it unless one chooses to ignore the Thieves Guild questline.
    • Also, the Skeleton Key does not count towards the Oblivion Walker achievement.
  • After going up the Irkngthand Arcanex elevator where you meet Karliah and Brynjolf, right beyond the trapped door (where the mace falls down) there is a pedestal in the right corner with three lockpicks, a bottle of Black-Briar Reserve, and the shadowmark for "The Guild" etched on the surface. This might imply further taunting from Mercer, as the book Shadowmarks by Delvin Mallory describes this shadowmark as "If you see this shadowmark, someone from the Guild is nearby for certain."
  • During this quest, Karliah and Brynjolf can be exploited as multiple followers and follow you outside Irkngthand. This is by pushing or shouting them to the lever.
  • If the Dragonborn does not finish the Thieves Guild questline, the key can never be removed from their inventory. This includes if the Dragonborn is sent to prison, as it will not show in the inventory but be useable with any lock.


This section contains bugs related to Blindsighted. 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
  • Sometimes, the quest will not start once "Trinity Restored" has been finished. This can be fixed by typing setstage tg08b 10.
  •  360   After meeting with them, Karliah and Brynjolf will run outside of the ruin and vanish.
  •  360   Activating the lift to descend to Irkngthand Grand Cavern displays the error message "Your follower cannot accompany you here."
  • It is recommended to save the game before entering the final room with Mercer (Irkngthand Sanctuary), due to the significant amount of quest-breaking issues at the end of this quest.
  • Running past all of the enemies in the cavern before Mercer is seen and entering may cause the Dragonborn to get stuck. If the game is saved before the Dragonborn is in the room, but the player waits a short time, and then enters, the cut scene should go as planned.
    •  PC (Fix)   If this does not work, open the console and type setstage TG08B 40.
  • After getting the Eyes of the Falmer, Mercer will make for the stairs, but may get stuck and begin glitching up and down on the wall, causing the Dragonborn to be briefly frozen in the cutscene until Mercer becomes unstuck. Should that fail to happen, pausing and unpausing the game may fix it. If that does not work, it is advised to restart the system.
    •  PC (Fix)   Using the command setstage TG08B 20 will trigger the falling platform. Karliah and Brynjolf will not be able to follow any further and will be gone for the remaining of the fight, however they will appear properly at Bronze Water Cave.
    •  PC (Fix)   Should the fight with Mercer failed to trigger, opening the console and typing setstage TG08B 40 may fix this problem.
  •  360   PS3   Quest-breaking glitch: When the Dragonborn swims out of the cavern after it fills with water, both Karliah and Brynjolf can get stuck in the flooded cavern, making the quest unable to be completed. Reloading to a previous save may resolve the issue. If this glitch is happening, the problem could be that Karliah or Brynjolf are being talked to while they are in the water.
    •  PC (Fix)   Use the commands prid 0001B07F and player.moveto for Karliah and prid 0001B07D and player.moveto for Brynjolf. It is also possible to fix this by entering the flooded room again, and then coming back out.
    • If the Dragonborn leaves and re-enters too many times, Karliah and Brynjolf may occasionally continue walking along the bottom of the flooded cave, as if there is no water.
    • Another fix is to shoot both Karliah and Brynjolf with a bow before they leave the ledge by the door, or to attack Karliah while she is underwater. She will go above the water to defend herself. Upon sheathing one's weapon she will stop, allowing her to be talked to.
    • If Karliah remains swimming, she can be gently "forced" out into the passage by swimming close to her. She will move away from the Dragonborn, and can be directed towards the passage this way. She can also be pushed into and talked to at the same time to make her change her posture. Once inside the passage, she will zone out and the quest can continue.
    • If the Dragonborn is an Imperial, they can also use the Voice of the Emperor to calm them.
  •  PC   Going back and forth to the Arcanex and returning to the quest multiple times (e.g., to drop off loot in the chest in the entry room) may cause Brynjolf and Karliah to lose track of the Dragonborn and not follow them as they go farther in.
    •  PC (Fix)   Use the prid and player.moveto commands as above and talking to them as they reappear will cause them to resume following normally.
  • Quest-breaking glitch: Mercer may not appear in the cavern at all.
    •  PC (Fix)   To fix this, type in the console prid 22651, and then type enable.
  • Quest-breaking glitch: After leaving Irkngthand and returning, the quest marker is completely inaccurate and neither Brynjolf nor Karliah are there. Continuing on as if they were there, Karliah can be seen outside of Irkngthand, but any attempt to communicate with her will state that she is busy.
  • Quest-breaking glitch: Occasionally, Mercer will not have the Left Eye of Falmer or the Skeleton Key in his inventory.
    •  PC (Fix)   In order, type into the console SetStage TG08B 50, player.additem 0003a070 1, SetStage TGlarceny 80, and player.additem 0001994F 1. This will give the Dragonborn the Skeleton Key and Left Eye of the Falmer, which will allow them to continue the Thieves Guild questline, as well as turn the Eye in to Delvin.
  • Another bug encountered during the "Locate Mercer Frey" section of this quest involves Brynjolf getting stuck in his position.
    • Hitting him once with Unrelenting Force can fix this. He can also be attacked in order to move him.
  • Quest-breaking glitch: Just before the final battle with Mercer, upon entering the room where he removes the Eye from the statue, the Dragonborn may become stuck, unable to move, interact, or open up the tab menu. This may be fixed by entering tcl when the map loads, then deactivating it if the issue is not fixed at that point.
  •  PC   Brynjolf and Karliah can end up fighting one another if they are caught in the crossfire of the Dragonborn's spells, or once the cavern is filled with water, making it impossible to advance the quest.
    •  PC   Fix: Use the console and type prid 58f1a to select Karliah, then moveto player. Repeat for Brynjolf using prid 20545. This will bring both characters to the surface, where Brynjolf will move to the exit of the cavern while Karliah will interact with the Dragonborn to complete the quest. Using SetStage will complete the quest, and the Dragonborn will receive the bow; however, both NPCs will remain underwater.
  • When passing the flame spinning room, Karliah and Brynjolf may leave the building and wander off into the woods. Carrying on with the quest without them will make them reappear in the end room.
  • In the room where the giant statue crumbles, there will be a severe framerate lag after entering the second door on the far side of the room. Reloading a save will usually fix this.
  •  PS3   In the same room, at the end where the door would have been had the fallen rubble not blocked it, it is possible to get stuck in the rubble. Neither jumping nor using Whirlwind Sprint will get the Dragonborn out, and a save will have to be reloaded.
  •  PC   Game-breaking bug: Karliah's dialogue after killing Mercer may be bugged, only completing the quest but not activating "Darkness Returns."
    • The console command setstage tg09 0 will activate the quest properly.
  •  PC   Karliah might disappear from the cavern upon meeting Mercer, rendering the completion of the quest impossible. Opening the console and typing player.placeatme 0001B07F fixes this.
  • Occasionally, the game performance suffers in the room where Mercer is first seen through the bars.
  • Attempting a sneak attack kill on Mercer Frey will trigger the death animation, but his corpse might fall through the floor.
  •  360   PS3   When entering a Falmer tent, the Dragonborn may get stuck inside and be unable to exit.
  •  PS3   It is possible to use a Potion of Invisibility and initiate a kill/special attack animation. If done on top of the statue, Mercer may fall through to the ground, leaving the Dragonborn unable to loot his corpse.
  •  PS3   Some Falmer tents cannot be entered. This is most likely due to a scaling glitch resulting in an invisible wall. Falmer may also become trapped inside these tents, rendering them unable to be attacked via melee.
  •  PC   Game-breaking bug: after completing "Blindsighted," upon leaving Bronze Water Cave, no named characters can be spoken to (ex: Whiterun Guards can be spoken to, but not the Jarl or merchants).
  •  360   After the temple floods, Mercer's body may not float up, as all dead bodies do in water. The Skeleton Key cannot be taken from his body if this happens, so a previous save may have to be reloaded.