For other uses, see Fortress of Ice.

Fortress of Ice the first part to the third main quest of The Elder Scrolls: Arena. Following the successful venture into the Fang Lair, the Eternal Champion must do a task for Thelen Kaarn: retrieve a Tablet from Archmagus Shalidor's home, the Fortress of Ice, to decipher the Elder Scrolls and find the Archmagus' personal testing grounds, the Labyrinthian.



(Day), (Day) of (Month), in the year (Era) (Year) (The date in-game is dynamic, and changes depending on the day and month.)
The Mages Guild of Winterhold has marked the Fortress of Ice on your map of Skyrim...


The first part to the third main quest of Arena. Following the Eternal Champion's venture into the Fang Lair, Ria has divined the location of the second piece of the Staff of Chaos: the Labyrinthian. The Champion must talk to Thelen Kaarn, a wizard from the Winterhold Mages Guild, and obtain a Tablet from Archmagus Shalidor's home, the Fortress of Ice, to decipher the location of the Archmagus' magical testing grounds, the Labyrinthian.


  • Receive Ria Silmane's dream bridge.
  • Receive Jagar Tharn's dream bridge.
    • Survive Tharn's ambush.
  • Travel to the city-state of Winterhold, in Skyrim.
  • Enter the Mages Guild and receive the favor from Thelen Kaarn.
  • Recover the missing Tablet from the Fortress of Ice.
  • Return to Kaarn to decipher the Labyrinthian's location.


The Dream BridgesEdit

After escaping the Fang Lair and sleeping properly in an inn, Ria Silmane will approach the Eternal Champion in their sleep to congratulate them on the success of claiming the first piece of the Staff of Chaos, and tell them about the next piece.

Ria Silmane (Arena)

Ria Silmane.

It seems that you were well chosen, (Player's name). I see that you have won the first piece of the Staff. That in and of itself is not a simple task.

Tharn it seems, is not as concerned with you as I had thought he would be. Perhaps he thinks you dead or lost in the sewers from which you escaped. That iswell, for I have discovered the second piece's location.

There was once a great maze, built by the Archmagus Shalidor to guard what he called Glamorill, the elven term for 'The Secret of Life'.

I know not the location of the great maze, which was called the Labyrinthian, but somewhere in its twisted corridors lies the second piece of the Staff of Chaos.

Shalidor, according to the old texts, made his home in the Fortress of Ice. He would not have built the Labyrinthian far from his home. I would search to the north for such a place.

I wish you well on your journey..."
―Ria Silmane[src]
Ria Silmane (Labyrinthian) vision

Ria assumes Tharn doesn't know of the Champion yet. The Champion's encouraged to leave the area they're in, and sleep outside or in a dungeon so Jagar Tharn can, angrily, come to them in a dream bridge.

Jagar Tharn (Arena)

Jagar Tharn.

I do not know who you are, but you have made a fatal mistake. Ria Silmane and her feeble powers are no protection for you. I should have discorporated her when I had the chance. I will not make the same mistake again.

I will use the same dream bridge that she uses, sending my minions across time and space. Already they arrive, ones worthy of the attention you deserve.

They will relieve you of the burden of the Staff piece you now hold. Give it to them and I will order your death painless and quick. Resist and I shall see you in such suffering that you will grovel for the sweet release of death..."
―Jagar Tharn[src]
Jagar Tharn (Fang Lair) ambush

Enraged the Champion is attempting to save Uriel Septim VII, the proper emperor, across time and space Tharn will send a minion to ambush and attack the Champion, proving Ria's theory of Tharn's knowledge of you wrong.

If the Champion is not prepared, Tharn may send an opponent which is very difficult to kill. At lower levels, he simply should send a Minotaur or the like. These minions could also look like basic Thieves, and Warriors.

Due to how Tharn's chances of invading the Champion's dream bridges are rolled, it is possible that Tharn may not come in a dream at all. This is explained more thoroughly in the Labyrinthian section of the quest, as it is not important as of now.

After the possible ambush, the Champion should follow Ria's advice. Seeing she said to look for the Fortress of Ice, and seeing that the only lands of snow and possibly ice are in Skyrim, the Champion should travel to a city-state in Skyrim.

From Belkarth Guard to Karthwasten Hall, the closest two towns, it's a 13-day journey. But, from Belkarth Guard to the nearest city-state, Snowhawk, it's a 19-day journey. The Champion is encouraged to go to either the city-state or the town to begin searching for the Labyinthtian. Mages, priests, pedestrians, and street-entertainers should provide well enough information.

While searching, the Champion will be told that there is a search going on for the Labyrinthian between Winterhold and a randomly selected city in the Skyrim province (The Champion may be told that a courier came from Winterhold to speak about the Labyrinthian, instead.), giving note that the Champion should investigate around Winterhold.

If the Champion isn't already in Winterhold, they should travel to the city-state as soon as available.

The Mages' GuildEdit

Winterhold Mages Guild (Arena)

The outside of the guild.

Interrogating the citizens of Winterhold will lead the Champion to Winterhold's Mages Guild, where they've apparently fallen on harder times after a caravan attack, and that the guild may tell the Champion about the Labyrinthian for a favor.

West of the city's gates the Mages Guild can be found; a large blue building. Inside, a mage can be found searching at the far back of the room, by the name of Thelen Kaarn. When spoken to, he will speak warmly to the Champion, a significant change from Queen Blubamka:

"Welcome, (Player's name), to Winterhold. I trust the weather has not affected you adversely? Well, it has come to my attention there have been certain inquiries about the Labyrinthian. My name is Thelen Kaarn, and I find this quite interesting. Few have sought out this legendary place, many less have found it. Perhaps we can do each other a favor. Allow me to explain. A few days ago, knights from the Fortress of Ice attacked a small caravan destined for our Guild. This caravan was to deliver to us an object of unimaginable importance, a missing tablet that would help decipher a part of the Elder Scrolls. This piece completed a map to the Labyrinthian. No doubt the knights returned their booty to their fortress, and are by now deeply ensconced within its walls. We could not hope to get in there and recover that tablet piece. We are not prepared for such an endeavor. If you would agree to attempt this, I would gladly tell you the location of the Labyrinthian. All I need is the missing piece to solve the puzzle. Will you agree to help us?"

The Champion should accept the offer, and Kaarn will be pleased:

"I am pleased to see that you do not shy from danger. Enough talk then, here is the location of the Fortress of Ice. When you have the missing piece, return here with it and I will share with you the location of the Labyrinthian..." Thelen gestures once and the location of the Fortress of Ice is magically inscribed onto your map.


Winterhold Weapon Shop (Arena)

A weapon shop, "The city-state Tool Store."

Proceeding the talks with Kaarn, the Champion should henceforth stock up on supplies. Kaarn will dispense potions and magical items to the player like any normal Mages Guild wizard. Inns are similar everywhere else except Hammerfell: black brick buildings with crescent moon-shaped shutters on windows and a sign over the door with a mug of gold. Weapon shops look like blue brick shops with the sign of a sword over the door.

Potions of Strength and Potions of Cold Resist are recommended, as are mages to purchase the Resist Cold spell from the Mages Guild, as many monsters that wield ice-based attacks are found inside the fortress and can be very dangerous to a non-Nord raced character. Being a Nord isn't required, though. The Champion should also stock up on Potions of Healing or Potion of Heal True, as there are almost no niches or raised platforms to sleep on in the fortress, excluding the Knights' Quarters (which have to be purged of Knights first). Healing spells, such as Heal True are also beneficial.

Winterhold Inn (Arena)

An inn, the "Restless Mug."

For both mages and non-mages, it's recommended to get an item ending in "of Light" to remove visibility fog. Some of the Fortress of Ice's ice-based enemies can't be seen with the low visibility, leading in many unfair deaths-by-ranged-projectile. This item can be found as an unnamed Mark or Crystal in dungeons, which can be identified through the Mages Guild for a hefty price, or simply by buying a pre-identified one through the Mages Guild.

It's also recommended to buy a sword of Elven-rank or higher, if available. The towering Ice Golem of the Fortress of Ice can only be damaged with Elven-make weaponry or of higher higher quality, such as Dwarven, Mithril, or Adamantium.

There's also no shame in raiding all past dungeons the Champion has visited, whether they be randomly generated in the wilderness or an important dungeon like Fang Lair or Stonekeep. Enemies and loot will always respawn when leaving to a city, and coming back to the dungeon.

Stolen Tablet – First FloorEdit

It's worth noting now that if the Eternal Champion dies at any point after acquiring the first piece of the Staff of Chaos, Jagar Tharn will taunt them in death, instead of Ria Silmane wishing them peace:

Jagar Tharn (Arena)

Jagar Tharn.

You were a fool to confront me, and now have paid the ultimate price.

Even now, my servants go to fetch your mortal husk. You will serve me well through my years as
Emperor [sic] [Do not change this to emperor. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.], once I have made you undead.

Perhaps I will even let you retain some of your memories, so that the price of your failure has meaning to you..."
―Jagar Tharn[src]
Jagar Tharn player dead

This change does not revert.

Fortress of Ice Level 1 Walkthrough (Arena)

Fortress of Ice, first floor. The pink line shows the fastest way to reach the second floor.

The Fortress of Ice is relatively below Stonekeep in level of complexity, and farther below Fang Lair, but is unfortunately far more difficult with its groups of ice-based enemies. The objective is to get to the second floor, through a stairwell at the north-central end of the dungeon, a blue dot on the map.

Fortress of Ice Entrance (Arena)

The entrance to the Fortress of Ice.

The starting hallway holds Snow Wolves, who launch powerful Ice Bolt attacks, similar to the Hell Hounds of Fang Lair and their Fireballs.

Starting from the Fortress of Ice and onwards, the Champion should turn to the annotated map which is always provided for the fastest venture to the objective in a dungeon. Latter dungeons past Fang Lair are very difficult to explain in words, without being done poorly.

The Champion will likely be greeted by Knights on their way to the second floor. Knights are very dangerous opponents, and should be fought with caution, as even a single Knight is a tough opponent to defeat at earlier levels. Considering that there are usually multiple Knights in one location, spanning from two to three, caution is advised throughout the entirety of the first floor.

Stolen Tablet – Second FloorEdit

Fortress of Ice Second Floor Entrance (Arena)

The Fortress of Ice's second floor entrance hall.

On the second floor, the way to the Tablet is far more linear, though that does not mean it's easier to find. The objective is a small room at the north-western end of the floor.

Fortress of Ice Level 2 Walkthrough (Arena)

Fortress of Ice, Second Level. The pink line shows the fastest way to reach the Tablet.

It is very easy to get lost and go to corridors that lead to dead-ends. Again, the Champion should refer to the provided map for the rest of their adventure.

The Champion should beware of the numerous Ice Golems and Snow Wolves on the way there, as both have almost doubled in amount. Both can take the Eternal Champion down in seconds if they are not prepared, especially Snow Wolves, which spawn in pairs of two.

After reaching the chamber door which guards the Tablet, the door will speak to the Champion and will give a riddle to open it:

I touch your face,
I'm in your words,
I'm lack of space,
And beloved of birds...
What am I?

There are multiple answers:

  • air
  • wind
  • the air
  • the wind

If answered incorrectly, nothing will happen, the door will stay shut. When answered correctly, a "roleplaying message" will prompt:

"The door before you swings wide..."
Kaarn's Tablet (Arena)

Kaarn's Tablet.

Once the riddle is answered correctly, and the Ice Golem standing guard inside is slain, the Tablet can be claimed from the floor. A roleplaying message appears, a reminder for the Eternal Champion:

"You have found the Tablet that Thelen Kaarn spoke of. Once he has hold of it, he can use it to decipher the location of the Labyrinthian..."

The Champion should make their way out of the Fortress of Ice at their own pace, and carefully. They can choose to explore more for better loot and experience, but the Champion should return to Winterhold, and speak to Thelen Kaarn.

The Elder ScrollEdit

Upon returning to Kaarn, he will happily greet the Champion, and praise them:

"I had hoped and prayed for your safe return. I see you were successful. Your deeds will be sung among the tales of heroes. If you will wait a moment, I will give you what I promised..." Thelen fits the piece into a larger tablet, then reads what is written. He gestures for your map. With a feather pen, he inscribes the location of the Labyrinthian, somewhere in the Skyrim Province [sic] [Do not change this to
. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.]
, onto your map...

Signalling the Champion is to leave, the Champion must stock up again on supplies, and make their way towards the infamous testing grounds of Archmagus Shalidor's Labyrinthian.


  • The first floor counts as one of the least complex parts of a dungeon in Arena.


This section contains bugs related to Fortress of Ice (Quest). 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  , 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   There's an open wall in a part of the fortress, which leads to an infinite void outside of the map.
Arena Main Quest
Escape From PrisonStonekeepFang LairFortress of IceLabyrinthianSelene's WebElden GroveTemple of AgamanusHalls of ColossusTemple of the Mad GodCrystal TowerMines of KhurasCrypt of HeartsVaults of GeminMurkwoodBlack GateDagoth-UrImperial Palace
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