Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"A new hand touches the beacon. Listen, hear me and obey. A foul darkness has seeped into my temple, a darkness that you must destroy."

The Break of Dawn is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This quest is started by visiting the Statue to Meridia, or, after reaching level 12, by finding the radiant quest item Meridia's Beacon in random chests.


An otherworldly voice coming from Mount Kilkreath is commanding me to find a beacon and return it.


  1. Find Meridia's beacon
  2. Bring Meridia's beacon to Mount Kilkreath
  3. Replace the beacon
  4. Guide Meridia's Light through the temple
  5. Destroy Malkoran
  6. Retrieve Dawnbreaker


Meridia's Beacon returned to its pedestal.

Upon obtaining the beacon, which is a large gem with no value, Meridia commands the Dragonborn to take the beacon to the shrine located west of Solitude, directly north of the Haafingar Stormcloak Camp. Once there, Meridia will tell the Dragonborn that there is a powerful necromancer named Malkoran defiling her temple, whom the Dragonborn must destroy.

This quest is started in one of two ways:

  • When approaching the Statue to Meridia at her shrine at Mount Kilkreath west of Solitude, Meridia will speak of a profane darkness that has defiled her temple. She will set a quest marker for the Beacon of Meridia, which the Dragonborn must find and bring back to the shrine.

"A new supplicant approaches. Listen. Hear me and obey. A foul darkness has seeped into my temple. A darkness that you will destroy. But first, you must restore to me my Beacon. I shall guide you unto it. Find it and return here. And great shall be your reward."

  • Upon reaching level 12, the Dragonborn will find Meridia's Beacon in a random chest anywhere in Skyrim. Upon obtaining the beacon, Meridia will speak about a foul darkness that has defiled her temple. She wants it destroyed, and will direct the Dragonborn to the shrine.

"A new hand touches the Beacon. Listen. Hear me and obey. A foul darkness has seeped into my temple. A darkness that you will destroy. Return my Beacon to Mount Kilkreath. And I will make you the instrument of my cleansing light."

Once the beacon is obtained, Meridia will speak to the Dragonborn every day as she becomes increasingly alarmed at their lack of interest in helping the Solar Daughter. This can be avoided by simply going to the shrine, as the beacon will randomly appear. Note that this effect is removed by update 1.6 or later.

If the Statue is approached and the beacon is found later:

"You have found my beacon. But it is not time for rejoicing. The defiler continues to profane my temple. Return to my figure on Mount Kilkreath, and I shall make you the instrument of my cleansing light."

Meridia's Beacon[]

Meridia speaks with the Dragonborn high in the heavens.

"Look at my temple, lying in ruins. So much for the constancy of mortals, their crafts and their hearts. If they love me not, how can my love reach them? Restore to me my beacon, that I might guide you toward your destiny."

Upon approaching the shrine with the beacon, a voice is heard commanding that the beacon be placed at the feet of Meridia.

  • Objective: Replace the beacon
  • Target: Statue to Meridia

"It is time for my splendor to return to Skyrim. But the token of my truth lies buried in the ruins of my once great temple, now tainted by a profane darkness skittering within. The Necromancer Malkoran defiles my shrine with vile corruptions, trapping lost souls left in the wake of this war to do his bidding. Worse still, he uses the power stored within my own token to fuel his foul deeds. I have brought you here, mortal, to be my champion. You will enter my temple, retrieve my artifact, and destroy the defiler. Guide my light through the temple to open the inner sanctum and destroy the defiler."

Tell me more about this artifact. "Mortals call it Dawnbreaker, for it was forged in a holy light that breaks upon my foes, burning away corruption and false life. You will enter my shrine, destroy Malkoran, and retrieve this mighty blade."
It doesn't really sound like I have a choice in the matter. "But a single candle can banish the darkness of the entire Void. If not you, then someone else. My beacon is sure to attract a worthy soul. But if you are wise, you will heed my bidding."
I'll do it. "Of course you will. I have commanded it! Go now, the artifact must be reclaimed and Malkoran destroyed."
"Malkoran has forced the doors shut. But this is my temple, and it responds to my decree. I will send down a ray of light. Guide this light through my temple and its doors will open."

The Dragonborn is then whisked into the clouds where a glowing orb of Meridia's light appears. She describes a necromancer named Malkoran planning to raise the dead of Skyrim to wage war on the living, using the energy of a powerful artifact in her shadow-filled shrine. The Dragonborn is to enter her shrine and direct a beam of light throughout the dungeon.

  • Objective: Guide Meridia's Light through the temple
  • Target: Kilkreath Temple, below the Statue to Meridia

Shining Light on the Dark Temple[]

Upon entering, there is a desecrated corpse on the first flight of stairs. Throughout the entire interior there are an abundance of them, each one with a handsome amount of coin, which makes this quest very profitable (between 3000 and 5000 Gold is available). In addition, there are a large number of traps, and two locked doors that, once picked, reveal levers that open nearby gates with treasure on the other side.

There are a total of three pedestals to be activated in the temple to direct Meridia's light. The first large room has the first pedestal. Further down is a second room with several Corrupted Shades and the second pedestal. Once activated, the beam of light drains both health and magicka if the Dragonborn steps into its path. At the top of the steps, the beam of light can be seen shining through some debris that cannot be breached; the path continues down the steps and through the hallway to the south. The hallway contains several more corrupted shades, then several doors and, eventually, a chest with random loot. 

Light hitting one of the pedestals.

The room with the third pedestal has several more shades (one immediately by the entrance). There is a lever locked room on the north side of the area, along with an Arcane Enchanter. After activating the pedestal, the door at the top of the wooden ramp against the south side will be open, which leads outside to the Kilkreath Balcony. The balcony contains an expert-locked chest with leveled loot. Up the stairs is a door that leads to the Kilkreath Ruins.

Up some stairs is a fairly large room with more Shades, plus three more pedestals. Activating the pedestal at the top of the wooden ramp opens a door on that same level to the east. Through the short hallway, there will be four burial urns to the left, a chest, a hallway to the north, and a wooden door against the north wall. The door is trapped, but the trap can be disarmed. Behind the door is a small room with some loot.

Before entering the next hallway, there is a tripwire around the corner to the left that sets off some swinging axes. There is a lever on the floor in the corner which turns off the axes. Through the caged walkway is a platform from which the Dragonborn can jump over the gap to another pedestal on the left. After jumping back over, a ramp leads to good treasure in the northwest corner. A door on the west wall that was just unlocked allows the area to be left.

Next there will be a dimly lit room with a second level on either side. The ramp up to the left (against the west wall) leads to a regular pedestal with a potion that, if taken, triggers a spike trap. The other side will lead the Dragonborn through another short hall to the very top of the main room and to the third pedestal to activate. Once complete, the door to the south on the first floor will open, which leads to a door to the Kilkreath Catacombs.

A hallway leads to a room with the final pedestal. Activating it opens a set of double doors against the east wall. There is one chest here to the right of those doors. Through the doors and down more stairs, Malkoran can be seen performing some sort of ritual. (Going through the Dungeon can be avoided by walking right of the Statue and going through the entrance to the second part of the Dungeon, to Malkoran's ritual.)

Destroy Malkoran[]

Pedestal that holds the defiled Dawnbreaker.

Malkoran is accompanied by eight or more corrupted shades. A quick way to get the upper hand is by using a bow, Beast Form or Vampire Lord form to kill Malkoran off first, and to then move back up the steps sniping the shades.

The shades' strategy is to get behind the Dragonborn before attacking, but a follower or, with a high enough Conjuration skill, one or two summons can be helpful, especially an essential characters. If the Dragonborn stands in the doorway to the chamber, the ally will stand behind them making it impossible for the shades to get around. They will only attack if the Dragonborn moves too far forward, so using magic or a ranged weapon to hit them at point blank range will avoid this. Malkoran is reluctant to move from in front of the altar so he can be worn down from the doorway with a bow.

There is a strong poison of Paralysis on the floor in the altar room, off to the right when facing the altar. Using this poison is a good way of gaining an advantage on Malkoran, who is a very tough opponent.

If The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn has been completed, the Bend Will shout can be targeted directly at Malkoran as the Dragonborn walks into the chamber. He will turn against the shades and quickly dispatch them. Once the shades are gone, it is possible to sneak behind him and land many critical hits so as to avoid dealing with his powerful frost spells. If he is killed fast enough, Malkoran's Shade will emerge but still be under the effect of Bend Will, so it can be hit without fear of retaliation.

Topping off the Dragonborn's health/stamina/magicka before the Dragonborn delivers the killing blow to Malkoran will make it easier to survive him, as his shade will rapidly appear and continue throwing frost bolts. It is possible that the shade will use powerful flame or shock spells instead of frost spells.

"It is done. The defiler is defeated. Take Dawnbreaker from its pedestal."

When Malkoran and his corrupted followers are finally dead, Meridia tells the Dragonborn to retrieve Dawnbreaker.

"Malkoran is vanquished. Skyrim's dead shall remain at rest. This is as it should be. This is because of you. A new day is dawning. And you shall be its herald. Take the mighty Dawnbreaker and with it purge corruption from the dark corners of the world. Wield it in my name, that my influence may grow."

I'll keep the sword. But find someone else to spread your religion. "It matters not. The plant cares nothing for the rays that bring it the warmth of the sun. As you carry Dawnbreaker, so will my light touch the world."
I'll wield this mighty blade in your name. "May the light of certitude guide your efforts."

Note that there will not be another chance to come back to this room after retrieving Dawnbreaker, and simply taking it will transport the Dragonborn from the room, so be sure to collect all the items one wishes to obtain. There are a large number of desecrated corpses, each having 20–125 Gold, so there is great profit to be made if they are looted before taking the sword.


Meridia speaks to the Dragonborn after the evil is banished.

  • Objective: Retrieve Dawnbreaker

Once the Dragonborn takes Dawnbreaker, they will be whisked back to the heavens for one last conversation and a great view.


The Break of Dawn – DA09
ID Journal Entry
50 An otherworldly voice coming from Mount Kilkreath is commanding me to find a beacon and return it.
  • Objective 5: Find Meridia's beacon
100 I've found a strange gem. An otherworldly voice is commanding me to bring it to Mount Kilkreath.
  • Objective 10: Bring Meridia's beacon to Mount Kilkreath
  • Objective 15: Replace the beacon
300 Meridia has commanded me to enter Kilkreath Ruins, destroy Malkoran, and retrieve the artifact Dawnbreaker. I will need to guide a beam of light through the ruins which will open the way for me.
  • Objective 20: Guide Meridia's Light through the temple
  • Objective 30: Destroy Malkoran
  • Objective 40: Retrieve Dawnbreaker
500 I have entered Kilkreath Ruins, destroyed Malkoran, and retrieved the artifact Dawnstar [sic] [Do not change this to Dawnbreaker. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.], which Meridia has bestowed upon me for my service.
  • Quest completed


  • The quest log after completing the quest will read "...and retrieved the artifact Dawnstar..." instead of saying Dawnbreaker. 
  • Using Dead Thrall or the Ritual Stone power on Malkoran and killing him may result in another Malkoran's Shade spawning. In theory, this process may be used for unlimited farming of Malkoran's Shade for possible coin and skill advancement.
  • Using a projectile spell, such as Fireball, on the altar holding Dawnbreaker may create a copy of it which flies across the room. It can be picked up before removing the original from the altar to end the quest, leaving two Dawnbreakers in inventory. The Unrelenting Force shout may also do this.
  • While being lifted in the air at the shrine, the view of Skyrim's landscape is impressive, as Dragon Bridge, Solitude, Morthal, the Thalmor Embassy, and more can be seen. Depending on distance settings, it may be possible to see the College of Winterhold. Furthermore, the Dragonborn will also be able to see the White-Gold Tower to the south in Cyrodiil.
  • This quest is an excellent way to acquire a lot of gold quickly, as the desecrated corpses will usually have between 50 and 100 gold on each of them. Quite a few of these bodies can be found scattered throughout the temple, especially in the final room where Malkoran works. Chests and urns fill the temple as well, similarly to a typical nordic tomb, which also usually contain gold.


This section contains bugs related to The Break of Dawn. 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   A rare bug may occur where the player may instead see Meridia as a headless Altmer after being lifted into the sky, both when returning the beacon and receiving Dawnbreaker.
  •  PS3   Rarely, when fighting Malkoran, the Dragonborn's follower will turn against them. Killing Malkoran will result in the follower turning into an ash pile, regardless of whether or not they are essential NPCs. Leaving any followers outside should fix this issue.
  •  360   Sometimes, upon receiving the quest, the location of the beacon will not appear on the map, making it almost impossible to find it and continue the quest without the use of the console.
  • When the Dragonborn is lifted to the sky during both times, they are supposed to be talking to Meridia (before entering the temple or after acquiring the sword). Meridia may not initiate conversation. The Dragonborn will be stuck in the sky, thus leaving the quest unable to be completed.
    • This can be corrected by reloading a previous save. If this keeps occurring, it can be avoided by reloading and then fast traveling to Dragon Bridge and then walking there again.
  •  PC   After completing the quest, the Dragonborn will fall to the ground while the screen turns white. Sometimes, the screen freezes white.
    •  PC (Fix)   To fix this, load a previous save, and after talking with Meridia, the quest completes. While falling, open the console using the (~) key, and type tcl to toggle collision. The Dragonborn will stop falling. Then, type enableplayercontrols to re-enable control over the character. Float down to the ground, and then type tcm again to return to normal.
  •  PC   360   PS3   When in the sky, after talking to Meridia the Dragonborn may fall to their death, instead of being teleported back to the ground.
    • This can be avoided by ensuring that the Dragonborn does not move at all during any point of the cutscene. This should prevent them from being moved out of the slowfall column.
    • One method to avoid this is to lower the difficulty setting to Novice, before grabbing Dawnbreaker. This should prevent the Dragonborn from being killed when dropped.
    • Alternatively, it is possible to end the dialogue with Meridia and sprint in the direction of the river. This increases the fall time and allows the teleport to take full effect.
    •  PC (Fix)   The command tgm can be used to activate God Mode to survive the fall. After landing, retyping tgm will deactivate it.
    • Another method is, when finishing the dialogue with Meridia and beginning to fall, to immediately save the game. The Dragonborn will fall to their death, but upon the game reloading, will be saved in time as originally intended.
    • Not moving at all while falling may fix this issue for the PlayStation 3.
    •  PS3   If the Dragonborn is a werewolf; right before or right after collecting Dawnbreaker, start transforming into a werewolf before the loading screen can interrupt. The transformation should be over before Meridia starts talking. Then, travel a distance far enough where her dialogue will not start. Wait for two hours to get back to normal. As soon as the Dragonborn's original form is visible, immediately start the talk with Meridia and skip through the dialogue as fast as possible. Then, go to the map menu; the Dragonborn should be able to fast travel, even still being in the sky. Choose the Statue to Meridia as the destination. If everything worked up to this point, one should get the message for completing the quest, the teleportation should start and the Dragonborn will find themselves back at the statue as originally intended.
  • Using the Fortify Restoration glitch in combination with Fortify Enchanting potions, the player can create an item granting them enough health to survive the fall without dying.
  • Killing Malkoran in the hallway before the chamber and/or while he is paralyzed may cause his ghost to fail to spawn, making it impossible to finish the quest.
    • This can be resolved either by reloading a previous save, or simply waiting for the paralysis to wear off before landing the final blow.
  •  PC   360   After killing Malkoran's Shade, the target indicator may still be on it. The quest will be marked as completed, but Dawnbreaker will not be retrievable, leaving the quest unable to be completed.
    • This can be corrected by reloading a previous save, preferably before fighting Malkoran.
  • If Auriel's Bow is used to block out the sun there will be two suns when the beacon is delivered to Meridia.
  • When fighting Malkoran's Shade, using the Unrelenting Force shout or werewolf power attacks will cause the shade to stop fighting. Unfortunately, it also ceases to take damage, preventing the quest to be completed.
    • This can be fixed by using magic (tested with wall of flame and ice form, or damaging shouts such as Fire Breath).
  • If Malkoran is killed near a wall, his shade may spawn inside the wall and therefore is unable to be attacked.
  • Sometimes, when the beacon is delivered to Meridia, it will appear on the pedestal, but the beacon will become stuck in the Dragonborn's inventory.
  • Meridia's beacon may spawn in the Dawnstar Sanctuary, even if the Dark Brotherhood questline has been completed, making the chest containing the beacon inaccessible. In turn this forfeits the Oblivion Walker achievement and makes it impossible to finish the quest.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn has Serana as a follower, the light beams from the beacon may damage her, causing her to become hostile towards the Dragonborn.
    •  360 (Fix)   This can be prevented from having permanent impact by being careful to save the game every time before the activation of each pedestal.
  •  360   PS3   When placing the beacon at the shrine, if a dragon is attacking and/or in close enough proximity to the Dragonborn, the dragon may be whisked away into the air as well. While in the air, the dragon is capable of attacking both the Dragonborn and Meridia (as well as "landing" in the air, as if there were terrain for it to stop on), causing the conversation to break. Because of the nature of the cinematic sequence, once the conversation is broken the Dragonborn will be able to move about freely in the air, but will be unable to draw their weapons as well as not taking any damage. Meridia will fight the dragon, but will do no damage, leaving the Dragonborn trapped in an endless battle in the air, unable to fight back and unable to re-initiate contact with Meridia.
  •  PC   360   If a follower is present during the battle with Malkoran, they may become permanently locked inside Kilkreath Catacombs after retrieving Dawnbreaker.
    • Dismissing the follower or telling them to wait outside the door before engaging Malkoran should work, but the battle will be more difficult.
    •  360 (Fix)   Start the Companions questline. At the start of the quest "Proving Honor", Farkas will be assigned as a follower. This should force the Dragonborn's trapped follower out of their service.
    • The follower may be found running against the door (now locked) inside.
      • Waiting or fast traveling may fix this.
      •  PC (Fix)   A possible fix is to type the console command unlock after clicking the door and it should open.
      •  PC (Fix)   An alternative is to enter in the console: prid ####### to select the follower. For Lydia the code is 000a2c94. Next, the command moveto player can be entered. The follower should appear beside the Dragonborn with all the items they previously had.
      •  PC (Fix)   Another alternative fix for PC is to walk back into the dungeon, in the second half, after the bridge like area. Do note this can lead to receiving a second Dawnbreaker sword as well.
  •  360   When the iron door is opened and the Dragonborn goes down to the wooden door that Malkoran lies behind, there are busts on the sides. After the shade is killed, if the Dragonborn hides behind the busts, Malkoran will turn around and go back, giving the Dragonborn time to regain health.