Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see The Black Star.
"Azura has seen your coming, traveler. It was not curiosity, but fate, that has led you here."
Aranea Ienith[src]

The Black Star is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must recover and restore the power of Azura's Star that has been corrupted by necromancers.


Aranea, a priestess of Azura, says I am destined to find "an elven man, who can turn the brightest star as black as the night." She believes he is in Winterhold.


  1. Visit the Shrine of Azura
  2. Find the elven mage for Aranea's vision
  3. Speak with Nelacar
  4. Find Azura's Star
  5. Bring the Star to Aranea or Nelacar
  6. Speak to Azura (If brought to Aranea)
  7. Tell Azura you're ready to enter the Star (If brought to Aranea)
  8. Tell Nelacar you're ready to enter the Star (If brought to Nelacar)
  9. Destroy Malyn Varen's soul


The Black Star

Many years ago, Malyn Varen was exiled from the College of Winterhold for pursuing questionable research with soul gems. Malyn was trying to find a way to prolong his spirit, and he believed that storing his soul inside the Daedric artifact, Azura's Star, would prevent him from dying. Unfortunately for him, one of the properties of the Star was that black souls—the souls of sapient, mortal beings—could not enter it. As such, he began experiments to modify the Star's properties so that it would accept black souls.

The further Malyn progressed toward this goal, the more Azura tormented him. The artifact slowly drove Malyn insane, causing him to hear voices and see people that were not there, and eventually murder one of his students. After this, he was exiled from the college, collected a band of followers, and continued his research at Ilinalta's Deep, an abandoned Imperial outpost that had mostly collapsed into the adjacent lake. There, he continued his work, eventually succeeding in capturing his own soul inside the modified Azura's Star and achieving a state of immortality.

Nelacar, the ex-apprentice of Malyn Varen.

To receive this quest, the Dragonborn must first talk with Aranea Ienith at the Shrine of Azura, south of Winterhold. She will say that Azura has chosen the Dragonborn as her champion, and that they must find "an elven mage who can turn the brightest star to the darkest night."

Head to Winterhold. Once there, there are a few options to gain the identity of the "elven mage":

  • If a member of the College of Winterhold, ask Faralda or Sergius Turrianus about this, and they will reply that Nelacar, an Altmer mage who specializes in soul gems, lives in The Frozen Hearth, and is the one they are looking for.
  • Ask Dagur, the barkeep of The Frozen Hearth, about "an elven mage who studies stars," and he will initially point the Dragonborn to the College, but then later states that "old Nelacar" may know what they are talking about, and that he owns a room within the inn.
  • Go to Nelacar directly, and ask if he knows about the elven mage.

When talking to Nelacar, he will not give up the information readily, so one must intimidate, persuade, or bribe the necessary information out of him. He will say that his mentor, Malyn Varen, was experimenting with Azura's Star, and that the last known location of Malyn was Ilinalta's Deep.

Ilinalta's Deep can be found west of Riverwood, near and to the north of The Lady Stone. There is a trap door atop a partially submerged tower that leads into the underground complex.

Ilinalta's Deep[]

Shackled Skeleton

After entering, the Dragonborn should go past the shackled skeleton and enter a flooded room with a partially open doorway on the left. They must go through the doorway and down the subsequent hallway. Following the hallway is a small room containing a skeleton and the first of many conjurers (necromancers at higher levels) found throughout the dungeon. In the next room are two more conjurers, and a skeleton lurks in the room on the left, which contains some food and a potion of waterbreathing.

The door on the right leads to the next area, with a conjurer, a skeleton, and a dead wolf, which will be raised from the dead if the mage is alerted. The underwater passage behind the waterfall on the left leads to a hidden room with a chest and the Alteration skill book, Breathing Water, floating near the ceiling.

A high-level Conjurer in Ilinalta's Deluge

The right-hand passage in the next room leads to two conjurers and a skeleton. There is a small sleeping quarters to the left, as well as an arcane enchanter, an alchemy lab, and several useful pieces of loot. The door on the right has an apprentice lock, with a chest and some potions on the other side.

At the end of the next passage is a high-level conjurer, on the far side of a flooded depression that cuts across the room. There is a partially submerged stairway on the far right side of the depression that can be used to approach the conjurer from the safety of the water. Under the water near the stairs is a door with an adept lock. Loot on the other side includes a chest containing a spell tome, potions, and Gold.

Back in the partially flooded area, there is an altar with a leveled soul gem on the right and a pull chain on the left that raises the bridge across the water that was just crossed. A door on the left leads to a passage containing a cupboard and an apprentice-locked door on the right that opens onto a small room with a couple of potions and alchemical ingredients. Up the stairs on the far side of the room is a barred door. The protagonist must activate the bar to move it and go through the door to come onto a small landing area overlooking the first room of the dungeon. Following the landing to the right and through another door leads to the final section of the dungeon, Ilinalta's Deluge.

The Dragonborn should then follow the path down to reach an area with two conjurers. There is a chest, and quite a few potions and soul gems scattered throughout this room and the smaller one to the right. The passage to the left leads down a path, through another door, and into a room occupied by a conjurer and a skeleton, with cages along both walls. Through the door at the end of the room is a set of stairs opening onto a medium-sized room with a high-level conjurer and four skeletons. There is no loot in here, so the Dragonborn should continue straight up the stairs to the left.

Malyn Varen's skeletal remains with the Broken Star

In the room at the top of the stairs, Malyn Varen's skeleton sits peacefully in a chair, with the Broken Azura's Star at its feet, his grimoire on the floor next to his chair. Also in the room is a chest with a leveled amount of loot. With the Broken Azura's Star in hand, the dungeon can be exited via the ladder that leads to the ceiling.

Cleansing the Star[]

Azura's Star

There are now two options to fix the Broken Azura's Star:

  1. Give it to Aranea Ienith at the Shrine of Azura, and receive Azura's Star
  2. Give it to Nelacar in the Frozen Hearth Inn in Winterhold, and receive the Black Star

If the option to serve Azura is chosen, a small conversation with the goddess takes place:

"Greetings, mortal. You have followed my guidance through the veils of Twilight and rescued my Star from Malyn Varen. But his soul still resides within, protected by his enchantments. Until he is purged, my artifact is useless to you."

Is there any way to cleanse the star?
Then why don't you remove it? Aren't you a deadra?
"Eventually, the Star will fade back into my realm in Oblivion, but I doubt you have the hundred or so years it would take to wait. No, only one option remains. I will send you inside the Star. You will banish Malyn's soul there. Tell me when you are ready, mortal."
I'm ready to enter the Star. "Have faith, mortal. I will be watching over you."

If left in dialogue:

"Are you ready to enter the Star and purge the soul of Malyn Varen?"

After defeating Malyn:

"The Star is free to purify itself. Don't worry, mortal. I will return you before you are cleansed." "My Star has been restored and Malyn's soul has been consigned to Oblivion. You have done well, mortal. As was destined, you are free to use my Star as you see fit."

Thank you, Lady Azura. "Farewell, mortal. Know that Azura will be guarding over the threads of your fate in the Twilight."
I dislike the daedra looking into my future. "Oblivion has been watching you since the day you were conceived, mortal. Do not think that your life has been served by your will alone. Go now. I have seen the threads of your fate in the Twilight, and you still have much to accomplish."

Speaking to the desired person, with the Broken Azura's Star in hand, will begin this final step. Whichever option is chosen, the Dragonborn must enter the Star to cleanse it of Malyn Varen's soul. The former is warped out of the Star several seconds after defeating the latter's soul inside, regardless of the status of Malyn's three Dremora henchmen.

Once Malyn's soul has been defeated, the Dragonborn is pulled out of the Star, thanked, and given either a working Azura's Star by Aranea Ienith, or the Black Star by Nelacar. The former can trap only white souls (those of non-sapient creatures) while the latter, according to Nelacar, can trap only black souls (the souls of sapient beings). In reality, however, the Black Star can hold either white or black souls, just like a black soul gem.

Additionally, bringing the Star to Aranea makes her available as a follower. While giving the Star to Nelacar does not provide a companion option, the Black Star has the advantage of a much more abundant source of grand souls, as all black souls are of the grand level. Meanwhile, only white souls from exceptionally powerful monsters such as the mammoth, are grand souls. Giving the Star to Nelacar also opens up another merchant, as he will afterwards sell Mage Robes, spell tomes, soul gems, and the occasional staff.


Introduction – DA01Intro
ID Journal Entry
  • Objective 10: Visit the Shrine of Azura
The Black Star – DA01
10 Aranea, a priestess of Azura, says I am destined to find "an elven man, who can turn the brightest star as black as night." She believes he is in Winterhold.
  • Objective 10: Find the elven mage from Aranea's vision
  • Objective 20: Speak to Nelacar
30 Nelacar has told me that his old mentor, Maylyn [sic] [Do not change this to Malyn. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.] Varen, was experimenting on Azura's Star. Malyn's last known location is Ilinalta's Deep.
  • Objective 30: Find Azura's Star
50 I have Azura's Star, but it's been corrupted by Malyn Varen's magic. I could take the Star to either Aranea or Nelacar to have it repaired.
  • Objective 40: Bring the Star to Aranea
  • Objective 45: Bring the Star to Nelacar
  • Objective 60: Speak to Azura
  • Objective 62: Tell Azura you're ready to enter the Star
70 I am inside Azura's Star and must defeat Malyn Varen's soul in order for Azura to purify the Star and bring me out.
  • Objective 80: Destroy Malyn Varen's soul
100 I have cleansed Azura's Star, the infinite Soul Gem. It is mine to do with as I see fit.
  • Quest completed
  • Objective 65: Tell Nelacar you're ready to enter the Star
75 I am inside Azura's Star and must defeat Malyn Varen's soul in order for Nelacar to bring me out and complete the Black Star.
  • Objective 80: Destroy Malyn Varen's soul
110 I have completed the Black Star, an infinite Black Soul Gem. It is now mine to do with as I please.
  • Quest completed
  • Quest failed



  • Trying to pickpocket Malyn will prompt the message "This person has already caught you."
  • If Malyn is killed, a necromancer or two may attack his killer somewhere in Skyrim. See A Scrawled Note for more details.
  • If Ilinalta's Deep and Deluge were cleared before starting this quest, new opponents will be present there when returning for the quest, even though Ilinalta's Deep will still be marked as "cleared" on the Skyrim map.
  • Completing the quest with Nelacar counts as helping a citizen for the quest "Thane of Winterhold".
  • If choosing the Black Star over Azura's Star and then returning to Aranea, she will respond by calling the Dragonborn a blasphemer and telling them to leave before she kills them for defiling Azura's artifact. However, she will not attack.
    • Alternatively, if Azura's Star is chosen over the Black Star, Nelacar will also be angry towards the Dragonborn.
  • Both the Black Star and Azura's Star count as a Daedric Artifact, and both count toward the Oblivion Walker and Daedric Influence achievements/trophies.
  • If the Broken Azura's Star is obtained by cheating before starting the quest, it can only be given to Nelacar, not Aranea Ienith.
  • Azura pronounces Malyn's name as "MAY-len," while Nelacar pronounces it as "MAH-len."
  • The Dremora inside the Star can be reanimated with Dead Thrall, but will disappear upon exiting the Star. The Dremora may find its way back to the Dragonborn after a certain period of time.


This section contains bugs related to The Black Star (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  /  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
  • If the Dragonborn completes "The Black Star" quest line first, then receives the quest "Visit Azura's Shrine" from townsfolk afterwards in Whiterun, they may not be able to complete the new quest, even after speaking with Aranea Ienith a second time.
  •  360   The Dragonborn may not be transported out of the Star upon killing Malyn. This renders the quest unable to be completed, and requires the loading of a save from before the Star was entered to progress with the game.
  • If the Dragonborn is in werewolf form upon leaving the Star, Aranea will attack, even if the Dragonborn is incapacitated from speaking with Azura. If the Dragonborn is killed in this way, when the game loads the autosave from within the Star, it will crash.
  •  360   When Nelacar takes the Broken Star for examination, sometimes he may never say anything, and trying to activate him simply prompts a "This person is busy" message. The quest cannot be advanced beyond this point, making getting either Star impossible. There have been reports of fixing this glitch by attacking Nelacar with a weapon until he drops to one knee.
  • Aranea may be hostile on the Dragonborn's first visit for no known reason. This can be fixed with a Calming ability, such as Voice of the Emperor if the Dragonborn is an Imperial.
  • After completing the first section of Ilinalta's Deep, sometimes the path to Ilinalta's Deluge is blocked by a boulder, as it is before the quest is activated. Leaving the dungeon and reentering may fix this.
  • Sometimes, the Dragonborn may be unable to pick up the Broken Azura's Star upon finding it. This can be fixed by using a Destruction spell on it, which will knock it to a new location in the room. It can then be picked up.
    • If the destruction spell does not work, it is recommended to save and load the game. The Dragonborn will then be able to pick it up.
  • The Dragonborn may be transported to a location near Ilinata's Deep upon being removed from the Star. When this happens, they will be slowly "floating" down, unable to move, jump, or Fast Travel until reaching the ground.
  •  360   The Dremora inside the Star can be revived repeatedly using the Revenant spell. This can be abused to level up the Conjuration skill indefinitely, along with whatever offensive skill is used to kill the Dremora.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If the Dragonborn is killed by the Dremora after Malyn is dead, but before being removed from inside the Star, both the Broken Star and a fixed one may be in the Dragonborn's inventory upon reloading. The quest will be marked as completed, rendering the Broken Star useless. This may result in the Dragonborn not being transported out of the Star.
  • When the Dragonborn is looking for the mage who studies the stars, if Nelacar is spoken to first, he will confess that he is that mage and will tell the Dragonborn about the next part of the quest. Afterwords, if other people in the area are spoken to about the mage, they will still tell the Dragonborn to try talking to Nelacar, and the "Talk to Nelacar" part of the quest will be impossible to complete. However, this does not affect completion of the quest as a whole.
  • It is possible to receive this quest again after completing it, by meeting a Dark Elf on a pilgrimage to the shrine. The quest cannot be advanced past talking to Aranea unless the Dragonborn receives the Broken Star after defeating Malyn.
  •  360   When speaking to Nelacar for the first time, he may not talk about Azura's Star and the Dragonborn cannot carry on with the quest.
  • If any of the dremora from inside the broken Black Star are still alive and attacking the Dragonborn when Nelacar pulls the Dragonborn out, Nelacar (and any followers one may have) will be in "combat" mode for a few seconds, as if the dremora is nearby. The dremora will also be marked on the Dragonborn's compass bar, at the top of the screen.
  • Malyn may be registered as defeated by being transformed into a rabbit by way of Wabbajack.
  • The bar on the door leading to the final section of the dungeon may not open. This can be fixed by saving and loading the game data.
  • Sometimes, if a dragon is attacking Winterhold, Nelacar will ready his spells and face the wall, and will say, "I'll end your miserable life!" as if an enemy is there. This can be fixed by going outside and killing the dragon. This bug can happen at any point in the quest where the Dragonborn interacts with Nelecar at the inn.
  • It is possible for a follower to become stuck inside the star if taken along. The follower can be brought back by typing prid <follower id>, then moveto player in the console.
  • If the Dragonborn is about to go into the star, Nelacar will hit them with Soul Trap but nothing will happen, and he will walk around with the spell out.
  • If the Dragonborn returns the star to Aranea and a dragon attacks, she may become impossible to receive as a follower, but will keep offering to be one.
  • When the star is first entered, the Dragonborn will talk to Malyn, who may become unresponsive. However, he is still able to be hit and killed.
  •  360   After destroying Malyn's soul while inside the Star, it may not count towards the completion of the objective.
  • It is possible to obtain Broken Azura's Star before receiving the quest by using the full Whirlwind Sprint shout to jump on the roof of the Ilinalta's Deluge tower. While being difficult and likely to result in death from fall damage, this allows skipping the whole dungeon if executed properly. If Ilinalta's Deluge was entered this way, it is possible to use the exit to Ilinalta's Deep, yet the way back will be blocked by a boulder. After accepting the quest, it will not be possible to obtain Azura's Star (or Aranea Ienith as a follower) but Nelacar's part of the quest will resolve without problems and grant the Black Star.
  •  PC   The Broken Star may sometimes be invisible, thus making it impossible to pick up. This is fixed by reentering the dungeon via the ladder in the same room.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn dies as they are being transported out of Azura's Star and then a previous save is loaded, they may end up with Azura's Star and the broken Star.