Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

In My Time of Need is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Dragonborn encounters some Alik'r warriors in search of a Redguard woman. They must choose whether to believe the warriors, and return the woman to custody, or trust the fugitive, and kill her pursuers. Either option offers a decent monetary reward.


A group of men calling themselves the Alik'r are looking for a Redguard woman in Whiterun.


  1. Find the Redguard woman
  2. Speak with Saadia or inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location
  3. Talk to the Alik' Prisoner or inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location
  4. Find a way to enter the Alik'r hideout
  5. Enter the Alik'r hideout
  6. Kill Kematu or talk to him
  7. Kill Kematu or convince Saadia to meet Kematu
  8. Return to Saadia
  9. Lead Saadia to the Whiterun Stables (if siding with the Alik'r)


"You there. We are looking for someone in Whiterun, and will pay good money for information."
Alik'r Warrior[src]

At any time after starting the main quest "Dragon Rising," the Dragonborn will encounter Alik'r Warriors on the roads of Skyrim or at the entrance to Whiterun, arguing with the town guard for entry to the city. When asked, they will explain that they are searching for a Redguard woman, who is a refugee from Hammerfell. When asked why they are searching for her, they will refuse to answer. Since they are not welcome in Whiterun due to a prior incident with the guards, they will tell the Dragonborn to bring any news of their quarry to Rorikstead.

There is no marker that leads to the Redguard woman that the Alik'r are looking for. If the Dragonborn searches Whiterun, they will eventually find her, a woman named Saadia in The Bannered Mare.

If the Dragonborn tells Saadia about the two Alik'r Warriors looking for her, she becomes agitated and asks to speak privately. At this point, the Dragonborn can follow Saadia and speak with her privately or head back to the Alik'r at Rorikstead and inform them of her location. Speaking to the Alik'r ends the quests and earns the 500 Gold reward.

Saadia's Story[]

Once Saadia is alone with the Dragonborn, she will explain her side of the situation. She currently works for Hulda at the Bannered Mare, but claims she is a noblewoman of the province of Hammerfell, House Suda, and her real name is Iman. According to claims, Saadia was forced to flee the province to Skyrim after speaking out against the Aldmeri Dominion, who then hired the Alik'r to hunt her down and assassinate her. She denies Kematu's accusations of her selling out her people to the Thalmor and of her being a traitor to the empire. She says that if Kematu were killed the rest of the assassins would scatter. If the Dragonborn promises to help her, she also mentions an Alik'r Prisoner in the Dragonsreach Dungeon who could help in locating Kematu. If Swindler's Den has been cleared prior to the quest, a dialogue option with Saadia will come up stating that Kematu's location is already known, thus avoiding the conversation with the Alik'r prisoner.

Once inside the Dungeon (one entrance is on the eastern wall of Dragonsreach), the Dragonborn can speak to the prisoner through the bars. He agrees to help if his bail of 100 Gold is paid. This can be done by talking to one of the guards. Talk to the prisoner again, and tell him his fine has been paid, and he will reveal that Kematu is in a cave called Swindler's Den. The guard then takes his time releasing him.

Swindler's Den[]

Swindler's Den can be found due west of Whiterun at the base of a rocky hill in the middle of the plains. Kematu is guarded by several bandits, who must be defeated regardless of whose side is chosen (Saadia's or Kematu's).

Note: There is a shortcut to the end of Swindler's Den that skips the majority of the bandits. In the first room there is a table, a chair, and a bedroll; behind these objects is a tunnel that is actually the exit for the room where the Alik'r Warriors are waiting. The tunnel is "hidden" by a large slanted boulder with moss and roots above it. This rock face can be climbed with a series of strafes and jumps. Once at the top, the tunnel will lead directly to the back entrance of the room in which Kematu resides.

Kematu and some of his party of mercenaries inside Swindler's Den.

When the Dragonborn reaches Kematu, he does not attack on sight, allowing the Dragonborn to speak to him. Kematu gives his side of the story, claiming that Saadia betrayed Hammerfell, and that as a result, the Redguard city of Taneth fell during the war against the Aldmeri Dominion. He explains that the Redguard houses wish to bring her back alive to face justice.

Siding with Saadia[]

To save Saadia from capture, simply kill Kematu. After the battle, return to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun and inform Saadia. She will offer a reward of 500 Gold.

  • If the battle against the Alik'r proves to be too difficult, an alternate strategy is to attack the guard nearest the cave exit first, then back up into the tunnel by the exit. This forces the bandits to attack one at a time. Exiting the cave completely will allow the Dragonborn to re-enter stealth and if the den is re-entered immediately, Kematu will be in one of the early rooms, allowing the Dragonborn to fight him independently of the other Alik'r. This completes the quest objective and the the remaining Alik'r can be killed and the last room looted. Otherwise, the Dragonborn can return to Saadia by going back out of the entrance to the den.
  • If the Dragonborn has the ability to pickpocket equipped weapons, they can make the battle a bit easier by stealing all the Scimitars from the Alik'r, however they will have to be sold to a fence, usually typically through the Thieves Guild unless their Speech is high enough to sell to invested traders.
  • Another strategy is to obtain a fully charged Staff of Fireballs, or the Fireball spell. Order a follower to wait in the back of the chamber. Move close enough to the waterfall to get a good view of the left wall, being careful not to trigger Kematu's conversation. While stealthed, hit the wall on the left side through the waterfall with a fireball. The blast will hit the Alik'r and cause them to charge down the ramp. Repeatedly hit the ramp with fireballs to weaken the Alik'r before they reach melee range. With high enough Stealth, the Alik'r may never notice the Dragonborn and will target the follower, allowing the Dragonborn to sneak attack them from behind.
  • With high enough proficiency in using Illusion magic, or a Scroll of Mayhem, and some sneaking and investment into minor perks in Illusion, it is possible have Kematu kill all of his men on his own using the Fury spell. Kematu is stronger than his fellow Alik'r and should easily survive the fight.

Siding with the Alik'r[]

When asked what he wants the Dragonborn to do, Kematu requests that they return to Saadia and convince her to meet at the stables, where she will be ambushed and brought to justice.

Head back to the Bannered Mare and lie to Saadia by telling her that the attempt to defeat all the Alik'r forces failed, that they are coming for her, and that there is a horse ready for her to escape on. Exit Whiterun with Saadia following, and head to the Whiterun Stables. Kematu will appear and immobilize Saadia. Speak with him one final time to collect the reward of 500 Gold.

Double Agent[]

Before collecting the reward from Kematu, the Dragonborn can attack and kill him instead. In doing so, the Dragonborn may avoid fighting Kematu's men. Saadia will be enraged about being led into a trap and comment that she should have been warned first, but she will then be thankful for being rid of her pursuers and offer a reward of 500 Gold. Kematu's corpse can also be looted for an additional 250 (100 / possibly) Gold. Killing Kematu after collecting the reward from him will cause Saadia to wake up and attack with her dagger, forfeiting her reward.

Playing both sides[]

It is possible to earn 1000 Gold by collecting the reward from both Saadia and Kematu, but they must both be killed in the course of the quest.

  • After Kematu immobilizes Saadia, collect the 500 Gold reward from him.
    • Note: if the Dragonborn has the Destruction perk Disintegrate and kills Kematu with lightning, he will turn to ash, and when Saadia tries to get up, she will vanish, and her reward will be inaccessible. And also if you have a follower that can summon dead such as Serana, they will resurrect Saadia while killing Kematu resulting in Saadia becoming ash in the end. Her corpse gives around 14 gold.
  • Kill Kematu and loot his corpse.
  • When Saadia becomes hostile, use Calm on her. This will allow normal dialog with her to resume. Explain that the Alik'r will not bother her anymore. She will be thankful, and reward the Dragonborn with 500 Gold.
  • Once the calm effect wears off, Saadia will become hostile again. This state is permanent; even if the Dragonborn leaves the area, she will attack the next time she is encountered. Killing her (either while she's under the effect or when she turns hostile) is not considered a crime.
    • It can be worth keeping her alive as a convenient source of hostility to raise skills in a relatively controlled environment. She's not strong, has no ranged options and isn't very good at detecting stealth. Just be careful of bringing followers as they will attack her. Guards and other townsfolk won't intervene.


ID Journal Entry
10 A group of men calling themselves the Alik'r are looking for a Redguard woman in Whiterun.
  • Objective 10: Find the Redguard woman
  • Objective 20: Speak with Saadia or inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location
  • Objective 21: Speak with Saadia or inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location
25 The barmaid at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun is apparently a fugitive noble from Hammerfell. She claims she is on the run from assassins sent by rival houses in her homeland and needs someone to stop them before they find her.
  • Objective 25: Talk to the Alik'r Prisoner or inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location
  • Objective 26: Talk to the Alik'r Prisoner or inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location
  • Objective 50: Find a way to enter the Alik'r hideout
  • Objective 75: Enter the Alik'r hideout
  • Objective 100: Kill Kematu
  • Objective 101: Kill Kematu or talk to him
  • Objective 125: Kill Kematu OR Convince Saadia to meet Kematu
  • Objective 130: Kill Kematu
  • Objective 150: Kill Kematu
  • Objective 160: Return to Saadia
175 The leader of the so-called "assassins" I've been asked to eliminate claims that Saadia betrayed her people to the Dominion and they are here to bring her to justice. I've agreed to lead her into an ambush at the Whiterun stables.
  • Objective 175: Lead Saadia to the Whiterun Stables
190 setstage MS08
  • Objective 199: Speak with Saadia
200 I've helped Saadia escape the clutches of the Alik'r sent after her. With their leader defeated, she believes the rest of them will scatter, affording her some much needed safety for now.
  • Quest complete
201 After making arrangements with Kematu, I've delivered Saadia to him. He assures me that she will be taken back to Hammerfell alive, though after that her fate is no longer in his hands.
  • Quest complete
  • Quest failed


  • Upon completion of the quest, there is a twin bed available at the tavern for free, across from Saadia's.
  • In Dawnstar the Dragonborn may overhear guards complaining about Hammerfell assassins.
  • Killing Kematu or his guards before starting the quest counts as murder, and will earn a bounty if witnessed.
  • Iman is not referred to in any documents of the Thalmor; only the Alik'r know of her presence. This may imply that the Thalmor are unaware that an enemy/supporter to their cause from a noble house in Hammerfell is in Skyrim.
  • If the Dragonborn has an outstanding bounty or has escaped from jail in Whiterun Hold, they will be unable to pay the Alik'r Prisoner's bounty. Talking to the guards will only get the, "Wait...I know you" dialogue. However, it is still possible to complete the quest while siding with Saadia.
    • Go to the dungeon, talk with the prisoner, agree to pay the fine, and talk to a guard. After not being offered the option to pay the fine, go to Swindler's Den, and the quest will update upon reaching Kematu and will instruct the Dragonborn to either talk to him or kill him. Being arrested and released from jail will also restore the guards' dialogue to their default state. However, there is a much easier way to continue the quest. All one needs to do is merely talk to a jailor (guard) and stick to the, "Wait... I know you" conversation. Choosing "You're making a mistake..." option and then choosing, "I don't have time for this, do you?" (which only works with low bounty level, or with a Thieves Guild involvement) will reload your state in eyes of that guard's (thus removing the, "Wait... I know you" dialogue). As a consequence of this, fine (bounty) dialogue will appear.
    • Alternatively, simply go to Swindler's Den.
  • After paying the Alik'r Prisoner's fine, the guard will try to open the cell, realize his key is gone, and state that he must have lost it and that it will take some time to find it. The Alik'r Prisoner is not very amused about this. This happens regardless of whether or not the Dragonborn pickpockets the key from the guard.
  • After the quest, if one sides with Saadia, the Alik'r warriors may wait on the bridge at the entrance to Whiterun infinitely, showing no disposition to the Dragonborn.
  • If the Alik'r warriors are sided with and Saadia is turned in, her burial urn can be found in Whiterun's Hall of the Dead.
  • Before completion of "In My Time of Need," a Redguard woman and two Alik'r warriors may be seen having an argument, as part of a random encounter. The warriors accuse the woman of being Saadia; one of them quickly realizes the woman is innocent and the discussion soon ends, and the woman is free to leave.
  • The Alik'r Prisoner's cell cannot be unlocked, even if one steals the key from the guard.
  • If the Dragonborn decides to lure Saadia to the stables but kills Kematu before she reaches that location (this can be done easily with archery), she will turn around and return to the Bannered Mare, and the quest can be completed from there on her side. She will not comment on being led into the trap if this happens.
  • The Wabbajack will not have a random effect on Saadia while she is paralyzed, instead merely killing her.
  • If Saadia is killed after "In My Time of Need" is completed, Kematu may return to Swindler's Den and can be followed all the way there.
    • He will kill the bandit guarding the entrance to the cave.
    • He may stop near the entrance if the other bandits are still alive. To get him to keep going, kill the next two bandits, exit the cave and then re-enter. He will have respawned at his original location.
  • If the Dragonborn begins to lure Saadia to the stables but visits Swindler's Den before completing the quest on Kematu's side, Kematu may respawn at Swindler's Den. The game will display a message saying that the local map has been updated and displaying the quest "Kill Kematu" again.
  • If dialogue is initiated with Kematu just as Saadia is beginning her part of the conversation with him, he may open dialogue with the Dragonborn while she continues with her part of the script. This will cause her to become paralyzed even while Kematu is not doing anything visibly to cast his spell.
  • If the Dragonborn attacks Saadia while she is conversing with Kematu but before she is paralyzed and allows her to flee, the quest may be completed without paralyzing her (he will turn in her the direction she is fleeing and cast the spell but miss), and the "Now we'll take our friend here..." reward dialogue can be initiated even while she is still alive and attacking the Dragonborn. She may then be killed without penalty.
  • This quest is similar to "Two Sides of the Coin" and "A Business Proposition." In all three quests, both sides will claim that they are in the right, and that the other is trying to lie to the hero, and in all three cases, there is no clear way to determine the truth.


This section contains bugs related to In My Time of Need. 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
  •  PC   If the Dragonborn has killed Kematu, but not yet collected Saadia's reward, they can still tell the Alik'r warriors in Rorikstead that Saadia has been found. The warriors will tell the Dragonborn to lure her to the stables. Entering the Bannered Mare Tavern at this point will cause the game to crash.
  •  PS3   If one sides with Kematu, it is possible that a clone of Louis Letrush, at the Whiterun stables, will become hostile towards Saadia as she attempts to escape. If this happens the quest will become impossible to complete, as Saadia and all other nearby individuals will engage in never ending combat with Letrush, who cannot be killed. However, if the Dragonborn fast travels to the stables immediately after getting Saadia to follow, Letrush will be bypassed, and the quest can be completed.
  •  360   By using a Fury or Frenzy spell on Kematu before speaking to him, he will begin attacking all of the Alik'r warriors. If Kematu is killed by the Alik'r, the quest will be stuck. The marker will point to his corpse, and the objective will say "Kill Kematu or talk to him." This also happens if he is killed by other things, such as bear traps or even followers.
  • If one chooses to talk to the two Alik'r Warriors about Saadia's location, the marker may point Whiterun's gate, even though they are not there.
  •  PC   PS3   Sometimes, after accepting the Alik'r request to bring Saadia to the stables, she vanishes once Whiterun is exited. Following her instead of fast traveling is less likely to trigger this bug.
  • After the quest is complete, the two Alik'r who prompted it and subsequently moved to Rorikstead may appear by the gates inside Whiterun and never leave. They will assist the Whiterun Guards and attack if the Dragonborn is caught committing a crime. With Dawnguard installed, they will assist in killing any Vampires that appear, including the Traveler if the player sides with the Dawnguard. Ironically enough, they will never die from the Vampire attacks.
    • The Alik'r can be removed by killing them, but their conspicuous placement next to large torches and near guards makes this difficult. For characters who do not have high Archery, one way to avoid incurring a bounty when killing them is to go inside Whiterun, and shoot an arrow at one of the them while hidden. They will both begin looking for the attacker, at which point the player must stop hiding, causing the warriors to give chase. The guards will not interfere, as it appears to be an unprovoked attack (killing the Alik'r in view of the guards will count as a crime). The player can then exit Whiterun with the Alik'r in pursuit and lure them to the outskirts of the city, where there are few witnesses, and they can be killed with impunity.
    • Another way to make killing them easier is to push the guard standing next to the gate into the small "room" next to the gate. From here, it will be easier to kill him with a sneak attack. Without the guard, it is much easier to wait until there are no witnesses and kill the two Alik'r.
    • If the Dragonborn is either a Werewolf or Vampire Lord, simply transforming out of sight and killing the two Alik'r will not incur a bounty as long as no one sees the Dragonborn's original form.
  • After paying off the Alik'r Prisoner's bounty, he may not be released, and the option for paying the fine is no longer available.
    • A possible solution is to simply converse with the Prisoner along the only available speech line and then start the dialogue again. The line will then expand with an option to tell him he has been bought out of prison.
  • If the questline is abandoned for a month or so (Skyrim time), both of the original Alik'r warriors may appear dead and naked just inside the Whiterun gates. This does not, however, affect the questline if Saadia has already been spoken to, as one of them will still be alive in the Whiterun jail.
  •  PC   Saadia may get stuck in the kitchen of the Bannered Mare and not exit the building, rendering completion of the quest impossible. To avoid this, follow Saadia instead of running ahead of her.
  • If one has already found Swindler's Den when starting the quest, they still need to free the prisoner before killing Kematu. If they kill Kematu when the quest marker is pointing to the prisoner, the quest will not update. When the prisoner is freed, the quest will update to "Kill Kematu," but since he is already dead, the quest cannot be completed.
  •  360   PS3   PS4   After the quest has been completed, the Dragonborn may still encounter the two Alik'r warriors on the roadside, questioning Redguard women about Saadia's whereabouts.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn uses a conjuration spell such as dead thrall on Kematu, they will not be able to turn in the quest to Saadia until the spell wears off.
  •  PC   After Kematu paralyzes Saadia, they may both remain in Whiterun indefinitely even if the quest is completed. If this happens, leaving and returning results in a hostile Saadia who is no longer paralyzed, while Kematu keeps saying he wishes to go back to Hammerfell and runs away in fear once a fight ensues with Saadia. Since the quest is already concluded at this point and there seems to be no other solution, it is safe to disable her through the console.
  •  360   If the quest "Battle for Whiterun" is completed on the Stormcloak side, the two Alik'r will disappear from Whiterun. There is no known fix to this.
  •  PS4   There is a chance that no guards will be seen speaking to the two Alik'r at the gate, ordering them to leave.
  •  PS4   Killing Komatsu after he paralyzes Saadia and gives the Dragonborn the reward money, Saadia will become hostile, but if the Bend Will is used at full power, she will become peaceful and then the Dragonborn can tell her she no longer needs to worry about the Alik'r. She will reward the dragonborn with 500 more gold, but will remain hostile until she is killed.