Missing in Action is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


"Fralia Gray-Mane in Whiterun is convinced that her missing son, Thorald Gray-Mane, is still alive and being held captive. She asked me to visit her home to speak privately about the matter."


  1. Meet Fralia in her home
  2. Find evidence of Thorald's fate
  3. Deliver proof to Avulstein
  4. One of two options:
  5. Rescue Thorald from Northwatch Keep
  6. Lead Thorald to safety
  7. Speak to Thorald
  8. Return to Fralia Gray-Mane


The quest can be started in two ways. The first is by speaking to Fralia Gray-Mane in Whiterun. She will tell the Dragonborn that her son is missing, but alive, regardless of what anybody says, and that she would like to discuss it in private at her home. Once there, Thorald's brother Avulstein will explain the situation further. Alternately, the quest can be started by talking to Avulstein directly. Either way, Avulstein explains that they would like any proof that Thorald is indeed alive, and they want him found.

Find the evidence

There are a few ways to go about getting proof from the Battle-Borns. The most direct is to sneak into their house (the back door is unlocked for this purpose) and find the book Imperial Missive on the desk. The book is located behind a locked door. It will state that Thorald has been taken prisoner by the Thalmor, and relocated to Northwatch Keep.

Instead of stealing the evidence from the Battle-Born house, the Dragonborn can try confronting Jon Battle-Born with knowledge of his tryst with Olfina. To do so, first pickpocket him for a letter from Olfina. After bringing it up with him, Jon will agree to bring the Imperial missive to the Dragonborn at the Statue of Talos.

It is also possible to persuade Idolaf Battle-Born into giving the information, but it requires a high Speech level (confirmed level 90 without perks or fortifying equipment on PS3, confirmed 75 or above on PC).

The third, and easiest, option is to first befriend Clan Battle-Born, which can be done in any of three ways:

  • Speak with the child Lars Battle-Born. With a little convincing, he divulges that the child-orphan Braith is bullying him, and he asks for help with the situation. You can speak with Braith and convince her to stop, making you a friend to Clan Battle-Born.
  • When first greeting Idolaf, he asks "Gray Mane or Battle-Born?" A Battle-Born response gains the Clan's friendship.
  • Selling any crops to Alfhild Battle-Born gains the clan's friendship.

Having befriended Clan Battle-Born, one can freely enter the study (requires picking an Adept lock) and take the missive.

Rescue Thorald

With the knowledge of Thorald's location, the Dragonborn can choose to relay it to Avulstein and join him and two of his friends, Geirlund and Vidrald, in attacking the fort, or simply go alone. Head to Northwatch Keep.

Once at Northwatch Keep, the Dragonborn can choose to fight through waves of Thalmor guards throughout the fort to find Thorald. The guards use shock and fire spells, leveled weapons, and Elven light armor. Depending on the Dragonborn's level, there is a good chance that Geirlund or Vidrald will be killed before even reaching the Keep by the Thalmor archers. Alternatively, there is a side entrance protected by a single guard and a Master-level lock that can be picked. This will make the trek through the keep much easier, requiring only a fight through two rooms with a few enemies. All the Thalmor guards outside will funnel through that side entrance once hostile, allowing for an easy chance to hit them with a Shout to stun them for the Dragonborn or Avulstein's men to take out.

Proceed through the Keep to the prison area. Thorald Gray-Mane is chained to the wall in the back of the room. Kill the Northwatch Interrogator to free him. He will grab a nearby weapon to help protect himself before following the Dragonborn. If Avulstein is with the Dragonborn, he will exchange words with his brother about how they are breaking him out of the Thalmor's imprisonment.

After exiting, Thorald will thank the Dragonborn for saving him. He will then explain that it is not safe for him or Avulstein to return to Whiterun, as the Thalmor will be after them now. He states that they will join the ranks of the Stormcloaks to blend in, and gives the Dragonborn a message to pass on to Thorald and Avulstein's mother: "Suffer the winter's cold wind, for it bears aloft next summer's seeds." He then parts ways.

Return to Fralia

Once the Dragonborn approaches Fralia with the news of her son's survival, she will ask for proof. Give her Thorald's message. She will give thanks for bringing her the peace of knowing that her son is alive and safe, and not locked up in a prison cell. She then rewards the Dragonborn with a random Skyforged weapon or an enchanted steel weapon, originally intended for Thorald, and the quest is complete.

If Fralia's husband, Eorlund, has died anytime before the conclusion of this quest, Fralia will say that she does not have much to offer, due to the passing of Eorlund, and will be able to give 200 GoldIcon instead of the weapon.


Missing in Action – MS09
IDJournal Entry
10Fralia Gray-Mane in Whiterun is convinced that her missing son, Thorald, is still alive and being held captive. She's asked me to visit her at her home to speak privately about the matter.
  • Objective 10: Meet Fralia in her home
20Avulstein Gray-Mane believes his brother Thorald has been taken prisoner, and that the Battle-Borns of Whiterun have proof. I need to find it and bring to Avulstein.
  • Objective 20: Find evidence of Thorald's fate
  • Objective 25: Meet Jon Battle-Born at Talos' statue
30After being convinced to help by the Gray-Mane family, I've found evidence that Thorald Gray-Mane is still alive, and is being held in Northwatch Keep. Avulstein will want to see this right away.
  • Objective 30: Deliver proof to Avulstein
40After being convinced to help, and finding proof that he is still alive, I've offered to try and free Thorald Gray-Mane from Northwatch Keep to prevent bloodshed on either side.
  • Objective 40: Find a way to release Thorald from Thalmor custody
50Now that I have found proof that his brother still lives, Avulstein Gray-Mane insists on assaulting Northwatch Keep to rescue Thorald. I've agreed to meet him outside the Keep to assist in the fight.
  • Objective 50: Meet Avulstein at Northwatch Keep
  • Objective 55: Rescue Thorald from Northwatch Keep
60Thorald Gray-Mane is indeed alive. Now I have to get him away from Northwatch Keep and make sure he stays safe.
  • Objective 60: Lead Thorald to safety
  • Objective 100: Speak to Thorald Gray-Mane
110Thorald Gray-Mane has been successfully retrieved from Northwatch Keep. Fearing for the safety of his family, he cannot return to Whiterun, and has asked me to deliver a message to his mother: "Suffer the winter's cold wind, for it bears aloft next summer's seeds."
  • Objective 110: Return to Fralia Gray-Mane
200Fralia Gray-Mane is grateful that her son Thorald is alive and well.
  • Quest complete
201Fralia Gray-Mane is grateful that her son Thorald is alive and well.
  • Quest complete
  • Quest failed
  • Quest failed


  • After completion of this quest, guards will comment "I heard you're the one who gave the Thalmor a black eye. You know how to pick your enemies."
  • Guards will also comment, "I wonder what it's like for those Thalmor, now that they've been taken down a notch..."
  • Vidrald and Geirlund may be found in the courtyard of Northwatch Keep after the quest is completed.
  • Stealing the evidence may cause Bergritte Battle-Born to send hired thugs after the Dragonborn, even if he or she were not caught in the act.
  •  PC   Joining the Thalmor with console commands by typing player.addfac 39F27 4 does not make the guard friendly to you.
    • Although you can make them friendly by killing them, tweak their factions to player ally, removing them from the Thalmor faction, setting the relationship to rank 4, and resurrecting them afterward.
  • Originally there was meant to be another way to complete this quest, but this option never made it into the final edition of the game. It involved the objective Find a Way to Release Thorald From Custody. The Dragonborn would have had to have completed the quest "The Jagged Crown" for the Imperial Legion to open up the dialogue to do so. General Tullius would give an Imperial missive stating the release of Thorald into the Dragonborn's custody. If the Dragonborn then spoke to the front guard of Northwatch Keep and told him that they have come for Thorald, the guard will refuse to confirm whether they hold a prisoner by that name, and say that a prisoner can only be freed by order of the Imperial Legion. By showing the missive, the guard was meant to allow the Dragonborn to enter the Keep and release Thorald from custody.


This section contains bugs related to Missing in Action. 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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  • After talking to Fralia no new objective is given.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Avulstein becomes hostile to the Dragonborn for no known reason upon the their arrival at Northwatch Keep. Lose him and fast travel anywhere away from him then fast travel back. If this does not work, go into Northwatch Keep and he will fight alongside instead of remaining an enemy.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If the fort is exited with Thorald through the jail room, it may cause the marker to be placed next to a rock outside the dungeon, and when there, nothing else will happen. If the outside has been cleared, it's worth to try waiting for one hour. Thorald should show up the quest advances. If this doesn't work run to the main door of the keep and the quest should advance as normal. If that also fails, the only way to complete the quest is to reload an earlier save. To avoid this bug exit the dungeon through the main door.
  •  PC   PS3   The above bug also happens vice versa. If going through the main entrance causes Thorald to despawn, try the side entrance. If the side door's lock hasn't been picked and the Dragonborn can't pick it, they are still able to exit through it using the key dropped by the interrogator.
  • If on PC, the issue with Thorald despawning can be fixed by selecting him in the console while inside and typing Moveto player once outside. This will teleport him to the Dragonborn and allow them to finish the quest.
  • There is another bug in which Thorald may attack if the Dragonborn enters alone.
  •  360   If the entire keep is cleared before the quest is started, and Aela the Huntress is a companion, then using the side exit once Thorald is free causes the quest to hang. The quest marker is moved, as described above, to a rock north of the keep. If the Dragonborn goes to the marker, Thorald comes running from the north and repeats his plea to get away from the keep quickly. Even bringing Thorald before his brother in Whiterun via fast travel will not fix this problem. Using the front door of the keep has problems that can be resolved: The marker is in the same location north of the keep. Go to just south of the quest marker between the keep and the rock. Eventually Thorald will come running from the keep to resolve the quest normally.
  • If standing just south of the rock where the quest marker is located does not un-hang Thorald, try standing in front of the door to the keep. Thorald will come running up and the conversation with him giving thanks will be triggered.
  •  360   If Northwatch Keep has been cleared before starting "Missing in Action," then entering either of the keeps doors may cause the game to crash on the load screen and the Xbox has to be restarted.
  • Even after clearing Northwatch Keep of guards and opening the prisoners' cells, the prisoners don't escape. They will still act like prisoners and be curt if spoken to.
  • Sometimes a thief being chased by a hunter (with Whiterun faction) will happen by the fort. Killing the hunter will result in a bounty in Whiterun being created. Avulstein will then become hostile and attack the Dragonborn. Return to Whiterun, pay the fine, and Avulstein will help again.
  • Thorald may not attack guards during the escape, and will instead just follow. Upon exiting, he can be talked to, initiating the dialogue as if the escape was successful regardless of whether or not any guards are still hostile outside. The area can be exited and the guards will not pursue beyond the main gate, and Thorald will turn around and head back into the prison. 
  • After speaking with Fralia to initiate the quest, picking and entering her home during trespassing hours will initiate the next dialogue in the quest, but render the Dragonborn permanently trespassing, preventing its continuation.
    •  PC(Fix)   Exit the house, enter the console code ResetQuest ms09, talk to Fralia, and enter her house after 0800 AM.
    • Alternatively, find Fralia at her jewelry stand in the square during the day, and then use Wait command until just before 6:00pm (don't use Wait command past the time). At 6pm Fralia will begin walking back to the Gray Mane house. Wait until she gets inside, then give a few extra seconds, then enter -- this should remove the trespassing problem.
  •  PS3   If the Dragonborn completes the quest "Battle for Windhelm," this quest may not advance past "Meet Fralia at her home."

Start a Discussion Discussions about Missing in Action

  • Missing in action Bug

    32 messages
    • wrote: wrote:I found that one of the unofficial patches was causing the problem, just uncheck the mods and l...
    • Fix for xbox one If door is locked: pick lock, wait for gaurd to enter house and pay off bounty. This unlocks the door so you can get in. St...
  • Missing in Action peaceful resolution

    5 messages
    • I've played through the special edition and the option is not there.
    • I just tried it, because I was actually doing the quest and in the SE it DOES WORK! He says "The Thalmor? Do you have any idea w...
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