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.


At any time after finishing 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 Hold due to a prior incident with the guards, they will tell the Dragonborn to bring any news of their quarry to Rorikstead.



  • Find the Redguard woman.
  • Speak with Saadia or Inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location.
  • Talk to the Alik'r Prisoner or Inform the Alik'r of Saadia's location.
  • Kill Kematu or bring Saadia to the stables.

Quick walkthrough

Speak with the Alik'r Warriors near the Whiterun's gate to Skyrim. Speak with Saadia inside The Bannered Mare.

  • Help Saadia:
  1. Speak to an Alik'r Prisoner in the Dragonsreach Dungeon.
  2. Talk to the guard, pay the fine for the prisoner, and receive the location of the assassins' hideout.
  3. Head to the Swindler's Den to kill Kematu.
  4. Return to Saadia.
  • Turn in Saadia:
  1. Tell the Alik'r in Rorikstead where Saadia is.
  2. Return to Saadia, and have her meet at Whiterun Stables where she is then ambushed.

Detailed walkthrough

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 player 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 GoldIcon reward.

Saadia's Story

Once Saadia will explain the situation. She currently works for Hulda at the Bannered Mare, but in truth, she is a noblewoman of the province of Hammerfell, House Suda, and her real name is Iman. According to Saadia, she 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. If Kematu could be 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 100GoldIcon 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 warriors

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 500GoldIcon.

  • If the battle against the nine 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.
  • 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 water fall 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'll 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 GoldIcon.

Double Agent

Before collecting the reward from Kematu, the Dragonborn can attack and kill him instead. In doing so, the player 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 GoldIcon. Kematu's corpse can also be looted for an additional 250 (100 / possibly ) GoldIcon. 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 GoldIcon 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 GoldIcon 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.
  • 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 GoldIcon.
  • 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 in self-defense is not considered a crime.


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.


  • The quest is an excellent way to obtain Scimitars, (which are better than most steel weapons), because they are the Alik'r warriors' signature weapon.
  • Saadia's story has several inconsistencies, and she somehow knows that one of the Alik'r has been arrested (after claiming that she wasn't even aware of their presence in the city), which suggests that the Alik'r might be telling the truth about her.
  • In the book The Great War, the great houses of Hammerfell unite against the Aldmeri Dominion, and to date in Skyrim, these facts, along with Hammerfell's success at repelling the Dominion, also undermine Saadia's claim that the Alik'r are Aldmeri assassins.
  • Killing Kematu or his guards before starting the quest counts as murder, and will earn a bounty if witnessed.
  • If Kematu's request is accepted, and the Dragonborn helps him capture Saadia, the Dragonborn may encounter a group of Thalmor Justiciars in the wild that carry a Justiciar Execution Order with the Dragonborn's race and name. This may indicate that Kematu was telling the truth and that Saadia truly was a traitor, as she could send Thalmor assassins after the Dragonborn. Execution Orders are normally issued because of the assault on the Thalmor Embassy in the main questline during the quest Diplomatic Immunity. Thalmor Justiciars that carry a Justiciar Execution Order also appear after attacking and killing any wandering Thalmor agents.
  • It is of note that 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 noblehouse 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" dialog. 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' dialog to their default state. However, there is much easier way to continue the quest. All you need to do is merely talk to a jailer(guard) and stick to the "Wait... I know you" conversation. Choosing "You're making a mistake..." option and then chosing "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 "Wait...I know you" dialog). As consequence of this, fine(bounty) dialogue will appear.
  • If the Dragonborn is a female Redguard, the Alik'r Warriors won't mention anything about it despite them looking for someone of that description.
  • 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, showing her true fate after the quest. confirmation needed
  • 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, but the discussion soon ends and the woman is free to leave.
  • The Alik'r Prisoner's cell cannot be unlocked, even if you steal the key from the guard.


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  , 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.
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