Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"The two keys must be hidden somewhere nearby - ceremonial replicas of Okin and Eduj, favored weapons when Kvenel went into battle."
Heddic Volunnar[src]

Silenced Tongues is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This quest can be started upon entering Volunruud and picking up Heddic's Volunruud Notes, or by activating the Elder's Cairn door.


I may be able to recover two ceremonial weapons within Volunruud which will allow me to enter the Elder's Cairn.


  1. Locate the Ceremonial Weapons
  2. Open the Elder's Cairn
  3. Defeat Kvenel


After entering Volunruud, reading the notes to start the quest, and proceeding down the stairs, the Dragonborn stands in a small cave with passages in several directions. The left-most (southwest) passage has no enemies, but contains an urn and a treasure chest filled with loot (this is where Amaund Motierre is for the Dark Brotherhood quests). The next doorway (to the west northwest) leads to an iron door and then a crypt with a few draugr lying at rest. The path continues straight down into a winding cavern with another draugr warrior lurking about. The last room has a boss level draugr defending it (depending upon level, there may be two draugr).

This draugr has the ability to use the Unrelenting Force and Disarm shout and uses frost-based destruction magic, such as Ice Spike, making it a challenging opponent. There are rusted metal plates on the floor. Stepping on them causes a metal spike to jut out and stab the Dragonborn if not avoided. On the wall behind the throne the draugr was sitting on, the ceremonial axe hangs. There is also a copy of the skillbook Mace Etiquette on the right-hand side of the throne.

Back in the main cavern, the opening to the northeast should be followed (skipping the stairs to the north for now). This leads to a winding tunnel and eventually to the middle level of a multi-level room with several draugr opponents including a draugr wight, capable of casting frost Destruction spells.

There is a swinging door trap covering the opening from the lower part of the room to the northeast. This area narrows into a corridor that can be used to trap the draugr. By stepping on the trap and moving out of the way, the door will hit the enemy. Another option is to cast rune spells on the tunnel floor so the enemies trigger it as they run by. If timed properly, a dragon shout will hit multiple targets as they cluster in the tunnel as well.

After the room is cleared, through this opening and up a few stairs is a room with another draugr. There are paths to the left and right. The left path leads to stairs that lead back to the middle level of the multi-level room, but on the other side from where the room was first entered. The right-hand tunnel leads up onto a high catwalk at the top of the multi-level room. Across it is a room with an ancient Nord helmet. One draugr will attack in this room. Through the iron door is the ceremonial sword in a crypt. Two more draugr will immediately attack as soon as the room is entered.

With the two Ceremonial weapons in hand, back in the main cavern again, it is now time to proceed up the stairs to the north. In this room there is a large table surrounded by candles. There's a leveled shield on the table and some embalming tools. Upon activating the Elder's Cairn door on the opposite side of the room, the two ceremonial weapons are taken. Now the door to the Elder's Cairn can be opened.

Through a hallway, there is a burned corpse kneeling in front of a fireplace, kneeling on a scroll of Ice Storm. In the next room there are two draugr who should be dealt with here or else they may drop down off of the bridge and sneak up behind. In this room, there is a rhythmic swishing sound which fades to become the sound of Nord chanting, indicating that the words of a Shout are nearby. But that also means there is a strong defender...

Down the hall is a narrow passage. At the end is a large room with Kvenel. Depending on the Dragonborn's level, equipment and skills, he can be a very challenging opponent. Nevertheless, even with a low archery and sneak skill it's fairly easy to kill him from behind the row of pillars circling the room. The strategy is to only fire when hidden and to make sure the Dragonborn can move easily to the other side of the room as soon as an arrow has been fired.

After killing Kvenel, his corpse holds Eduj and other loot, whilst Okin can be found on his remains once he is killed. Upstairs is some good loot which may include a dragon priest dagger and the One-Handed skill book Night Falls on Sentinel. There is also a Word Wall up the steps to the west for the shout Aura Whisper. There may be a skeleton back at the entrance after defeating Kvenel the Tongue.


Silenced Tongues – dunVolunruudQST
ID Journal Entry
10 I may be able to recover two ceremonial weapons within Volunruud which will allow me to enter the Elder's Cairn.
  • Objective 10: Locate The Ceremonial Weapons
13 I've found the ceremonial axe in Volunruud.
14 I've found the ceremonial Sword in Volunruud.
20 Now that I have both ceremonial weapons, I should be able to open the door to the Elder's Cairn.
  • Objective 20: Open the Elder's Cairn
  • Objective 30: Defeat Kvenel
100 I defeated an ancient draugr named Kvenel within Volunruud
  • Quest complete


  • If the ceremonial sword cannot be found within its specific room (the quest arrow points toward the ceiling), the Storm Call shout can be used, and it may appear on the ground with a clatter.
  • Kvenel can be trapped between the coffin by his throne and the wall.
  • It is recommended that the Dragonborn is at a fairly high level for this quest, preferably level 20 or above.


This section contains bugs related to Silenced Tongues. 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.
  •  PC   360   PS3   In the room with the swinging spiked gate, a pot can trigger the gate and it will remain stuck, blocking the path.
    •  360   If the game was not saved, etc.: It is possible to jump from the top of the wooden stairs onto the left hand side of the wall to the vines and a tiny ledge in the wall, then onto the next tiny ledge and vines. If the Dragonborn continues walking forward and jumping, the platform on the other side of the room above the trap door can be reached.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The ceremonial weapons needed to advance the quest can not be picked up. This can be solved by using the Unrelenting Force shout on the weapons, which will activate the option to pick them up.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The quest will not start if Volunruud is explored before reading the notes. Attempting to open the Elder's Cairn Door, even with both Ceremonial Weapons, will bring up the message "You lack the required item."
    • Dropping the weapons and attempting to open the door should give the quest if it wasn't obtained from the book. Once the quest is obtained, picking up the weapons should allow the door to be opened.
  •  PC   Some instances the ceremonial weapons will not appear in their designated spots.
    •  PC (Fix)   Can be solved by typing in the console command player.additem ID 0008adfb 1 for the axe, and player.additem ID 0008adfc 1 for the sword and after getting both items, the buged one this way, type setstage dunVolunruudQST 20.
  • Putting in one weapon without the other (putting in the sword first, then getting the axe and putting it in later) can make the door inoperable.
  • If the Dragonborn is a Vampire Lord, they can transform near the door and phase through it, bypassing most of the quest. However the quest will be glitched and can never be completed.
  •  360   PS3   Kvenel the Tongue may occasionally become stuck in the floor. However, he is still killable with area-of-effect spells.