Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"The Kelle.. Elder Scrolls, as you name them, they have often been used for prophecy. Yes, your prophecy comes from an Elder Scroll."

Elder Knowledge is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The quest is the twelfth in the main questline of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The quest is particularly long, spanning five different locations, including two Dwemer Ruins. During the quest, much of the lore behind Elder Scrolls themselves is revealed.


I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes.


  1. Learn the location of the Elder Scroll
  2. Talk to Esbern (Optional)
  3. Talk to Arngeir (Optional)
  4. Recover the Elder Scroll



Speak with Paarthurnax and ask about the Elder Scroll.


To learn more about the Elder Scroll, visit High Hrothgar and speak with Arngeir, or speak with Esbern at Sky Haven Temple. Regardless of who is asked, both will say to visit the College of Winterhold.

College of Winterhold[]

Upon arrival to the College of Winterhold, the player will be met by an Altmer named Faralda. If the College of Winterhold was not yet joined, the Dragonborn will be prevented from entering the college. There are several options to gain entry:

  • Persuade: Persuading Faralda to gain entrance (requires 100 in Speech)
  • Test: Taking Faralda's test by casting a random spell.
  • Shout: Telling Faralda that they are Dragonborn and proving it by a shout.

Should the Dragonborn succeed in one of these actions, Faralda will allow entrance into the College.

Once access to the college has been granted, the Dragonborn needs to locate Urag gro-Shub, who runs the Arcanaeum, the library located in the College. Then, he should be asked about the Elder Scrolls. Urag will place the two books written about them on his desk for the Dragonborn to take. If one has not yet started the side quest "Discerning the Transmundane," reading Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls will begin that quest. After telling Urag that the Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls is incomprehensible, he will say that the book was written by an expert on the Elder Scrolls, Septimus Signus. He gives the Dragonborn the last known location of Septimus.

Alternatively, one can simply go to Septimus Signus' Outpost, and avoid entering the College altogether.

Septimus Signus[]

Go to Septimus Signus's Outpost, the northern iceberg where Septimus has made his home. Climb down the ladder to find Septimus working on a Dwemer Box. Ask Septimus about the Elder Scroll, and he will say that it is hidden in the depths of Blackreach, a large underground Dwemer city that lies underneath the ruins of Alftand and many other Dwemer ruins. He will give an Attunement Sphere needed to gain entry to Blackreach, and the Blank Lexicon.


The next stage of the mission leads to Alftand, leading on to the ancient underground city of Blackreach. This portion of the quest can be difficult for lower-level characters, as Blackreach contains many Falmer and Dwarven Animunculi.

Alftand is located in the glacial mountains southwest of Winterhold. When entering Alftand, one will need to travel through large glacial tunnels. Follow the tunnel until reaching the Dwemer Ruins. When reaching the barred door, proceed to the passage that heads west up a ramp.

Continue north, and there will be two Dwarven Spheres. Kill or avoid them and head through the door and up to a Dwarven Spider–infested passage stretching south. This main passage leads east, above the room with the Dwemer Spheres in it. Dodge the pistons and continue on to the Alftand Animonculory.


Travel through the Alftand Animonculory, past the spinning blades, to find a locked gate. There is a lever on the right by the big pipe and on the other side of the gate that is accessible from the far left position. Open the gate and proceed to a massive shaft in the Animonculory. Travel down this shaft and within it are four Falmer. Dispatch or sneak by them. Alternatively, use the Become Ethereal shout to jump straight to the bottom. Taking this course could potentially cause the Dragonborn to be overwhelmed by the number of Falmer at the bottom, and bypasses valuable items on the way down.

Midway down the shaft, one of the ramps is broken, requiring a jump down to the platform below. This could potentially result in taking some damage. To minimize damage, jump to the pipe on the right side to descend approximately halfway down prior to jumping. At this point returning to the levels above is only possible by continuing to another exit and re-entering Alftand.

Once at the bottom there is an entrance to a door preceded by fire jets. While it is possible to walk through the fire jets to the door, it is also possible to avoid taking fire damage by passing through a small gap between the pipes on the left side. Enter the door, which leads to a Falmer nest. Go through the nest, dispatching or avoiding the Falmer inside. Go though the door on the southwest. This leads to a bridge, followed by another looping walkway containing several Falmer and at least one Frostbite Spider.

Alftand Cathedral[]

Now enter the Alftand Cathedral. Battle or avoid the two Falmer. Travel up the stairs and activate the switch, then pass through the newly opened gate. There will be a Dwarven Centurion that must be defeated, as it holds the key needed to proceed. A simple way to defeat the Centurion is to lean in the left part of the gate, and firing an arrow at the Centurion. As it comes close, it will try to fire steam at the Dragonborn. Go backward until the Dragonborn is out of the steam's range, and fire arrows from there. The Fire Breath Shout is also effective with the same strategy, but arrows make the fight go faster. Another option is to walk back down the stairs. The Centurion will follow. Let it try to catch up around the round "water well."

View of Blackreach.

A Frostbite spider will appear and start attacking the Centurion. Wait, and the spider will damage or destroy the Centurion. Next, proceed to the gate on the southwest where there will be two hostile adventurers, Sulla and Umanan, arguing. Engage or sneak past them to continue. If remaining concealed, they will eventually fight, leaving one survivor. Proceed to the Dwarven Mechanism and insert the Attunement Sphere. The floor will part, revealing stairs down to a hidden door and an entrance into the undercity of Blackreach.

Note: At this point the elevator immediately behind the "Dwarven Mechanism" will lead back to Skyrim. This lift can then be taken back to this point if nearing or at maximum carry weight. This location is also a useful midway point for returning later to collect the various bits of Dwemer metal for converting to ingots.


The Tower of Mzark's entrance bridge, on the south end of the "sun" arena.

One can exit Blackreach using the Dwarven Elevator just left of their location. There are several Dwarven Centurion along the road, but it is possible to avoid them. Dispatch or sneak by the Dwemer Sphere and the Falmer (a very easy way to dispose of the sphere is to activate the nearby crossbow before the sphere activates, as this kills it instantly), and follow the cobblestone path southeast to a button encased on a Dwarven head pedestal. Press it, and the elevator behind lights up, allowing access to the elevator to ascend and exit back outside. Open the gate to allow later entry from the Great Lift of Alftand.

Follow the quest marker to the far southwest corner of the map. This will lead to the Tower of Mzark, where the Scroll resides.

Oculory Operation[]

Once inside the Tower of Mzark, one will come to a room with a number of alchemical ingredients and other items. The Oculory is through the door on the far side of the room. Go up the spiral ramp. Near the top is a level area with desks, ruined books, and a door to an elevator to the surface. Near the door is a dead body, Drokt. The Journal of Drokt is next to his skeletal remains.

Go up the ramp above the elevator door to the controls. The controls consist of a Lexicon Receptacle and four positioning buttons embedded in pedestals.

Elder Scroll in Alftand.jpg

Activate the Lexicon Receptacle, so the Blank Lexicon rests on top of it. The two pedestals to the Receptacle's left, the only ones currently active, open and close the Oculory lenses. Press the taller of the two pedestals (right of the pedestal with the lens chart on it in the middle of the buttons) until the pedestal with the blue button to the left of the middle one starts to glow. Move to this new pedestal (at this point, the Blank Lexicon may be glowing blue). The two pedestals to the left of the lens chart, the taller of which is now active, control the ceiling lens array. Press the button of the taller, left pedestal twice, until the button on the left of that (the smaller pedestal) begins to glow. Note, if the left button is pressed too many times, one may have to start over with the farthest right button pedestal (as a reset). Now press that button, and a large set of lens crystals descends from the ceiling and stops. The main crystal rotates and splits apart to reveal a tube-like carrying device, which contains the Elder Scroll.

Acquiring the scroll completes this quest. Retrieve the Lexicon in order to continue "Discerning the Transmundane."


Elder Knowledge – MQ205
ID Journal Entry
10 I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes.
  • Objective 10: Learn the location of the Elder Scroll
  • Objective 20: (Optional) Talk to Esbern
  • Objective 30: (Optional) Talk to Arngeir
50 I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes. Esbern suggested that someone at the College of Winterhold might know how to find this Elder Scroll.


I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes. Arngeir suggested that someone at the College of Winterhold might know how to find this Elder Scroll.

60 I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes. I've learned that a scholar named Septimus Signus might know where to find it.
  • Objective 50: Recover the Elder Scroll
100 I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. Now that I've recovered that Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes.
  • Quest complete


  • Faralda will teach the spell that she asks to cast if the Dragonborn does not have it.
  • The best choice may be to take Faralda's test, since if one does not know the spell she asks for, it can be bought from her for 30 Gold, an immense discount that should be taken advantage of.
  • The Dragonborn can go to Septimus Signus directly, skipping a portion of the quest.
  • If the Dragonborn is in the middle of the quest "The Staff of Magnus," it is impossible to talk to Urag gro-Shub. The Staff of Magnus must be completed first.
  • If one has already completed Discerning the Transmundane and thus killed Septimus Signus, then to do this quest, the Dragonborn can either travel to Blackreach and head back to where the puzzle is at the end of it- the Scroll should still be there, or, if the scroll was added to their inventory, skip the entire mission and speak to Paarthurnax to complete it.
  • If the Dragonborn reads the Scroll anywhere other than the Time Wound at the Throat of the World, they will be blinded for several seconds.
  • If other Dwemer ruins such as Mzinchaleft or Raldbthar have been cleared, they can act as a shortcut to Blackreach. They are all connected as long as an Attunement Sphere is in the inventory. This can lead to a faster way to get through for completion of the quest.
  • The Dragonborn can skip the whole quest if they have completed the Dawnguard quest line.


  • When Urag gro-Shub tells Dragonborn about the Elder Scrolls, he mentions that "All of it is true. Even the falsehoods. Especially the falsehoods." This is very likely a reference to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Wire in which the character Garak says "All of it is true. Even the lies. Especially the lies," when asked if the answers he gave during questioning were true.[source?]


This section contains bugs related to Elder Knowledge. 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
  • The entire dungeon can be skipped by heading straight to the observatorium by finding the Tower of Mzark on the map, getting a plate, going to the tower, pressing the plate up against the locked door and sprinting towards the plate. This will cause the Dragonborn to glitch through the locked door. From here, they can take the lift down.
  • If all of the quests are completed for the College of Winterhold before having talked with Urag gro-Shub about the Elder Scrolls, there will be no text option to ask for the books about the location of an Elder Scroll. The proper text option has a slim possibility to appear after all available chat options have been selected. This bug appears if the Dragonborn has already spoken to Septimus Signus before talking to Urag. If Septimus Signus has already been talked to, it is possible to skip talking to Urag and continue on to the Tower of Mzark.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Esbern may not talk to the Dragonborn if they go to Sky Haven Temple. He will remain unresponsive except with giving generic dialogue, forcing the Dragonborn to go to Arngeir.
  • If the Staff of Magnus quest is active, there will be no text options for Urag except for generic dialogue.
  • When walking up towards the Tower of Mzark, a door inside will be missing. If one chooses to open it, they will not get past the invisible-barrier.
  • Sometimes, when the quest is finished and the marker appears on the Scroll, it still cannot be picked up. If this occurs, go back down the elevator to Blackreach and return to the Scroll chamber.
  • While in Blackreach, if the Dragonborn waits, their follower may be in a position as if they had downed. To fix this, leave the area.
  •  PC   360   After taking an elevator to the surface from Blackreach, the screen fades to black repeatedly and may erase autosave files. It is recommended to manually save before activating elevators to the surface.
  •  PS3   Even though the quest can be continued as normal, the current objective might not be in the quest log, but will be on the map.
  •  PC   If both the College's quests and those by Septimus are completed, and the Elder Scroll is not in the inventory and Urag does not give any quest dialog towards the Elder Scroll, the quest line can be continued by using the console to create the scroll in the inventory. The cube at the Septimus Signus's Outpost will be closed, and the device in the Tower of Mzark cannot be used a second time — leaving the console creation the only option. Using the command: player.additem 0002D513 1 will place it in the inventory.
  •  PC   360   PS3   After obtaining the Elder Scroll and taking the elevator lift to "Open Skyrim," the Tower of Mzark will be inescapable. There is no floating marker or any text signifying the action to unlock the gate. Fast-travel can be used from this location to escape from the lift cage. This is probably due to not picking up the lexicon for Septimus Signus where they had originally placed it. Go back into the ruins, pick up the lexicon and take the lift back up. The map should now update and a lever should be to the right to open the gate.
  •  PS3   Rarely, Umana will attempt to talk to the Dragonborn, and dialogue box will open. As she has nothing to say and no options to give, the game will freeze.
  •  PC   PS3   If the Dragonborn is using Clairvoyance in the dungeon, it will lead back to the entrance of the dungeon.
  •  360   PS3   Tower of Mzark or the elevator to the Tower of Mzark may not render. To fix this, simply save the game (make sure it is a new save, and not an overwrite) and restart the game. Entering or leaving other areas of the map does not fix this.
  • Sometimes, the Elder Scroll cannot be picked up after completing the puzzle. Reloading the last save fixes this.
  •  PC   The game may crash after speaking with Arngeir and finishing his dialogue.
  •  360   Upon entering Blackreach, after passing the bloodied campsite and going on, there will be an invisible barrier, preventing any progress forward.
  •  PC   If Septimus has been talked to and the Daedric Quest "Discerning the Transmundane" has been activated, the marker to talk to Arngeir may not disappear after learning the location of the Elder Scroll, and the marker will not appear on the Elder Scroll.
  •  360   When using any of the elevators that ascend to the surface, having more than one followers (dogs included) will cause the Dragonborn to appear outside the caged-off elevator, making it impossible to reach the lever to open the gate. This, in turn, will cause the Dragonborn to navigate through the dungeon again until they come back to the previous location before they used the elevator (using the manual save option is recommended before using the elevators).


Elder Knowledge (Achievement).png
Elder Knowledge
Complete "Elder Knowledge"
Points 20 Gamer points.svg
Bronze trophy