Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Durnehviir (Dragon Language: D.svgUr.svgN.svgE.svgH.svgV.svgIi.svgR.svg) is an undead Dragon residing in the Soul Cairn, where he guards Valerica under orders from the Ideal Masters.


"My claws have rended the flesh of innumerable foes, but I have never once been felled on the field of battle."

Some time ago, presumably in the early Merethic Era, Durnehviir lived amongst his kin in the skies above Tamriel.

While his brethren used more traditional forms of combat, Durnehviir pursued an interest in necromancy that eventually led him to the Ideal Masters. His wish was to raise armies of undead for his own ends, so he made a pact with the Ideal Masters to gain access to their realm's undead. The pact specified that Durnehviir was to serve as the keeper of the Soul Cairn, and guard Valerica until her eventual death - terms to which Durnehviir, being an immortal dragon, agreed. But the Ideal Masters had deceived Durnehviir, as Valerica was a vampire, and thus also immortal. As a result, Durnehviir was doomed to guard the Soul Cairn for eternity.[1]

Physical appearance[]

Durnehviir is unique in appearance, and does not appear to be of any breed of Dragon previously encountered. His body bears a resemblance to the Frost Dragon, with massive protruding spikes from the back of his neck and extending down to his tail. Four horns sprout from his head.

As an undead Dragon, Durnehviir's flesh is greatly decayed and his wings look extremely weathered. He is grey-green in complexion, and his scales are constantly dripping and oozing. Flies can be seen around his body, and yellowish drool can be seen constantly dripping from his mouth.

When he is defeated by the Dragonborn, his body burns with a unique, purplish fire, though his Dragon Soul is not absorbed.


Beyond Death[]

Before receiving the Elder Scroll from Serana's mother Valerica, the Dragonborn is attacked by Durnehviir on the way into the Boneyard. During the battle, his unique Dragon Shout can summon several Bonemen to his aid. After he is defeated, his body burns and he disappears; Valerica warns that he is unable to truly die and may reappear.

After exiting the Boneyard, Durnehviir is found waiting outside. He tells the Dragonborn that they were a worthy adversary and calls them "Qahnaarin," or "Vanquisher" in Dragon Language. If the Dragonborn has not yet killed their first dragon in the main questline, Durnehviir will say that it was his instinct to call the hero "Dovah" and that time will possibly clear it up for both of them. If the Dragonborn has finished the main quest line, he will speak about how he heard of the Dragonborn slaying Alduin, the World-Eater. He then explains how he was fooled by the Ideal Masters into becoming trapped in the Soul Cairn for eternity.

Summon Durnehviir[]

Summoned in the Soul Cairn, using the Drain Vitality shout on a Boneman.

He also explains that he wishes to fly through the skies of Tamriel once again, but that his ties to the Soul Cairn prevent him from leaving for long periods of time. He thus teaches the Dragonborn the Summon Durnehviir shout to summon him.

The first three times he is summoned, he will teach the words for his Dragon Shout, Soul Tear. As with all shouts, they must be unlocked with acquired dragon souls.

1st summon[]

Ah! The free air of Vus at long last. As promised, I now teach you the first word of Soul Tearing: "Rii (Essence)" - the essence of your enemy's life force.

2nd summon[]

I can feel my strength returning each time I am set free from that prison! Hear now the second word of Soul Tearing: "Vaaz (Tear)" - meaning to tear your enemy's soul from its living vessel.

3rd summon[]

You have kept your side of the bargain, now let me fulfill mine. Feel the last word of Soul Tearing within yourself: "Zol (Zombie)" - the unlife that results when a soul is imprisoned in dead flesh.

After this, whenever summoned, Durnehviir can aid the Dragonborn in battle. Durnehviir is the only Dragon able to use a unique shout that lets him summon Bonemen, Mistmen, and Wrathmen. The name of the Shout is Soul Cairn Summon, and the words of power are DIIL QOTH ZAAM (Undead, Tomb, Slave).[2]


Beyond Death[]

"Stay your weapons. I would speak with you, Qahnaarin."

I thought you were dead. "Cursed, not dead. Doomed to exist in this form for eternity. Trapped between laas and dinok, between life and death."
Why are we speaking? "I believe in civility among seasoned warriors, and I find your ear worthy of my words."
Didn't you try to kill me? "The hostility was necessary. I was bound to an oath."
I have more pressing matters at the moment. "Forgive me, Qahnaarin. We will continue this when time releases you from its relentless grasp."
Why did you call me "Qahnaarin?" "My claws have rended the flesh of innumerable foes, but I have never once been felled on the field of battle. I therefore honor-name you "Qahnaarin," or Vanquisher in your tongue."
I found you equally worthy. "Your words do me great honor. My desire to speak with you was born from the result of our battle, Qahnaarin. I merely wish to respectfully ask a favor of you."
What do you want from me? "The tone of your voice is understandable. Perhaps I can alleviate your suspicions."
I don't trust things that try to kill me. "If my desire to end your life was still my purpose, we would not be speaking."
"My desire to speak with you was born from the result of our battle, Qahnaarin. I merely wish to respectfully ask a favor of you."
What kind of a favor? "For countless years I've roamed the Soul Cairn, in unintended service to the Ideal Masters. Before this, I roamed the skies above Tamriel. I desire to return there."
What's stopping you? "I fear that my time here has taken its toll upon me. I share a bond with this dreaded place. If I ventured far from the Soul Cairn, my strength would begin to wane until I was no more."
How could I help? "I will place my name with you and grant you the right to call my name from Tamriel. Do for me this simple honor and I will fight at your side as your Grah-Zeymahzin, your Ally, and teach you my Thu'um."
Just call your name in Tamriel? That's it? "Trivial in your mind perhaps, to me, it would mean a great deal. I don't require an answer, Qahnaarin. Simply speak my name to the heavens when you feel the time is right."

How did you end up in the Soul Cairn? "There was a time when I called Tamriel my home. But those days have long since passed. The dovah roamed the skies, vying for their small slices of territory that resulted in immense and ultimately fatal battles."

Were you a part of all that? "I was. But unlike some of my brethren, I sought solutions outside the norm in order to maintain my superiority. I began to explore what the dovah call "Alok-Dilon," the ancient forbidden art that you call necromancy."
So you sought the Soul Cairn for answers. "The Ideal Masters assured me that my powers would be unmatched, that I could raise legions of the undead. In return, I was to serve them as a Keeper until the death of the one who calls herself Valerica."
They didn't tell you she was immortal. "I discovered too late that the Ideal Masters favor deception over honor and had no intention of releasing me from my binding. They had control of my mind, but fortunately they couldn't possess my soul."
Is that why you're free now? "Free? No. I have been here too long, Qahnaarin. The Soul Cairn has become a part of what I am. I could never fully call Tamriel my home again, or I would surely perish. I only hope that you will allow me the precious moments of time there through your call."

Why do you call me "Qahnaarin?" "In my language, the Qahnaarin is the Vanquisher, the one who has bested a fellow dovah in battle."

Fellow Dovah? I am not a dragon.
"Forgive me, my instinct was to grant you this title. I am uncertain why. Perhaps one day it will become clear to both of us." (If "The Way of the Voice" has not been completed)
"You are the Dovahkiin. The Dragonborn. You may not be one of us in body, but you have earned the right to bear this title." (If "The Way of the Voice" has been completed)
"Even in the Soul Cairn, the defeat of the World-Eater has reached my ears, Dovahkiin. You may not be dovah, but the defeat of Alduin earns you the right of title." (If "Dragonslayer" has been completed)


  • His name means "Curse Never Dying,"[source?] though talking to Valerica will reveal that "he calls himself Durnehviir."
  • If "Dragon Rising" has been completed, Durnehviir will recognize the Dragonborn as the "Dovahkiin." If the main questline for Skyrim has been completed he will also recognize that Alduin was slain.
  • If summoned in Skuldafn during the quest "The World-Eater's Eyrie," he will frequently say "Skuldafn fen kos dinok," "Skuldafn will be death," in the voice of other dragons.
  • Durnehviir does not resist Bend Will, but rather does not even register it.
  • He was voiced by Charles Dennis.
  • Despite being undead, Durnehviir registers under the Detect Life spell rather than Detect Dead.



This section contains bugs related to Durnehviir. 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.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If called immediately with Summon Durnehviir while in Soul Cairn, Durnehviir will then act as if he's been summoned in Tamriel and then continues to teach the Dragonborn the Soul Tear Shout. If used right next to Durnehviir in the Soul Cairn immediately after learning the Shout, there will be two Durnehviirs in the area.
  •  360   As he is summoned the player may get stuck inside him, unable to get out.
  •  PC   360   PS3   While fighting Durnehviir, if all his health is drained while he is on a perch, he will not fade away. Loading a previous save is the current solution.
  •  PC   360   PS4   Despite having finished the quest "Dragon Rising," but not completing the main questline itself, Durnehviir may still run his original dialogue, saying that he does not know why he called the player a fellow Dovah.
  • If the Dragonborn shoots and kills Durnehviir with a bow or crossbow right after he leaves the boneyard before getting close enough for Durnehviir to speak, he is killed and the quest to learn a new shout is missed.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Durnehviir may still be seen flying in the surrounding area where he was summoned, even after he would normally fade away when the summoning expires.
    •  PC (Fix)   360 (Fix)   PS3 (Fix)   XB1 (Fix)   That may be fixed by fast traveling and summoning Durnehviir once again. Once summoned, he will immediately fade away. Once the shout cooldown time is over, it will be possible to use the shout properly.
  • Sometimes when summoning Durnehviir for one of the first three times, the Dragonborn may only be able to shout the first word.



  1. Dialogue with Durnehviir
  2. Creation Kit