Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"Traitor? Me? Silly assassin. So confused, so confused... and they say I'm mad! If I'm a traitor, so are you! Have you not heard the maiden's voice? Are you not the Listener?"

The Cure for Madness is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Dragonborn is tasked with killing Cicero who has fled the Falkreath Sanctuary to the Dawnstar Sanctuary after attacking several Brotherhood members.


Upon my return to the Sanctuary, I was informed by Gabriella that there was some kind of "incident" with Cicero. I need to speak with Astrid to find out what happened.


  1. Talk to Astrid
  2. Search Cicero's room
  3. Read Cicero's diary
  4. Talk to Astrid
  5. Behold Shadowmere
  6. Locate Arnbjorn
  7. Talk to Arnbjorn
  8. Enter the Dawnstar Sanctuary
  9. Kill Cicero
  10. Kill Cicero, or leave the Sanctuary
  11. Report back to Astrid


The Dragonborn is met by Gabriella upon arrival in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. She redirects the Dragonborn to speak with Astrid immediately. Astrid states that Cicero went crazy and attempted to kill everyone before fleeing. She recommends searching Cicero's room for clues.

In his room, on an end table next to his bed is the final volume of Cicero's Journal. All the previous volumes can be found on nearby elevated surfaces. When reading the final volume, it will provide details of the password and location for an older and unused Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary near Dawnstar. After letting Astrid know of the findings, the Dragonborn is instructed to kill Cicero. She provides the horse, Shadowmere, as a means of getting to him. Despite the fact that Shadowmere is unique in appearance, choosing to obtain him is not essential to completing the quest.

While in the Sanctuary, talking with Nazir can also provide additional available side contracts.

Tracking Cicero[]

Outside the Sanctuary is a black pool that resolves itself into Shadowmere. He can be ridden to Dawnstar or else the Dragonborn can fast travel there. Once there, Arnbjorn is sitting injured on the ground just outside of the Dawnstar Sanctuary. He tells of his injuries, saying they were from a fight with Cicero, but that he injured Cicero equally as seriously, so the Dragonborn should just "follow the blood" to find him. After suggesting that he return to the home Sanctuary, Dawnstar Sanctuary should be entered.

Once inside, Cicero can be heard asking whether the Listener has come, and then saying that Astrid has sent her best. There is a full set of the Jester's Outfit on a table to the left as you enter the first room. As the Dragonborn continues, you will come to a bridge with a spear trap. As the trap is triggered, Cicero taunts the Dragonborn. It is possible to lure the Sanctuary Guardian to the other side of the bridge into the spike trap. Continuing on, at the bottom of a circular set of stairs is a table with the Archery skill book The Marksmanship Lesson and the one-handed skill book Fire and Darkness, as well as a set of Worn Shrouded Armor on a cupboard to the right. In the very next room, along with the Sanctuary Guardians, is a fire trap. Cicero continues his commentary as the Dragonborn proceeds.

The next room contains a set of steps in the southwest corner leading up to a gate of metal poles that can be opened by pulling a chain near the bottom of the stairs. This opens a large round opening in the northeast wall, and a door in the southeast corner. The stairs lead back to an earlier part of the path, so they should be ignored for now. The southeast door is barred from the other side. The round opening leads to an ice cave (which Cicero calls a "forced addition").

Deeper into the cave you will find the unique troll Udefrykte, along with numerous dead animals and bear traps. There is a ledge on the left side with a ramp leading to a chest containing a meager amount of coins. Continuing on through the bottom level of the cave, you will come to a room with a wooden door that leads to a retracting pole gate (the chain to open it is on the wall to the right). At the bottom of the stairs is a hallway with coffins on either side. The coffins are mostly empty - a few have bloody rags or skulls, though some may have Bone Meal. There is a master-locked chest in a dead end passageway to the left (south) with leveled loot. At the end, another set of stairs leads up to the right (north) to another retracting pole gate opened by a chain to the right. At the end of this hall is the barred door to the left (that can now be opened) and another door to the right that leads to Cicero. As the Dragonborn approaches, they sheath their weapon(s).

Confronting Cicero[]

Cicero is found lying on the ground injured. He asks that his life be spared and that the Dragonborn lie to Astrid about killing him. Should the Dragonborn decide to let him live, there is no effect on the outcome of the quest nor the attitudes of the other Brotherhood members. It should be noted that if Cicero is spared in this quest he will become an available follower for the Dragonborn. If he is killed, his body can be looted for his outfit (the Jester's Outfit on the table at the entrance is less powerful), some gold and a leveled dagger. If he is attacked, he will get up and fight back, revealing that he isn't actually injured.


Return to Astrid and inform (or lie to) her about Cicero's death. She will then thank the Dragonborn and suggest they hold on to Shadowmere "a while longer," in addition to starting the next quest, "Recipe for Disaster."


The Cure for Madness – DB07
ID Journal Entry
10 Upon my return to the Sanctuary, I was informed by Gabriella that there was some kind of "incident" with Cicero. I need to speak to Astrid to find out what happened.
  • Objective 10: Talk to Astrid
15 While I was away, Cicero went berserk and tried to kill Astrid. He fled the Sanctuary, with Arnbjorn in pursuit. I need to locate them both, and then kill Cicero.
  • Objective 15: Search Cicero's room
  • Objective 17: Read Cicero's diary
  • Objective 19: Talk to Astrid
  • Objective 666: Behold Shadowmere
  • Objective 20: Locate Arnbjorn
  • Objective 25: Talk to Arnbjorn
  • Objective 30: Enter the Dawnstar Sanctuary
  • Objective 40: Kill Cicero
  • Objective 50: Kill Cicero, or leave the Sanctuary
  • Objective 60: Report back to Astrid
200 After learning that Cicero went berserk and tried to kill Astrid, I was ordered to go to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, find him, and end his life. The matter has now been resolved.
  • Quest complete
  • Note: The objective to "Behold Shadowmere" appears in the journal after the "Quest complete" stage if it is never completed in the first place (i.e. if the Dragonborn proceeds directly to the Dawnstar Sanctuary)


  • It is possible to both get Cicero's outfit and let him live, by using the Perfect Touch and Poisoned perks of the pickpocket skill, as well as any form of paralyzing poison. To get his clothes, Cicero can be pickpocketed, giving him the poison. He will become paralyzed shortly, allowing his usually impossible to nab clothes to be grabbed without fail. Alternatively, a Staff of Paralysis or the spell Paralyze can be used.
  • If the Ghost of Lucien Lachance is active while exploring the Dawnstar Sanctuary, Lucien will tell the player that it is not wise to kill Cicero, because the Keeper is a sacred position in the Dark Brotherhood. He says that "Our Dread Father does not wish this!"
  • Cicero's 500 gold may be taken twice. This can be done by pickpocketing him before attacking. If the Dragonborn is caught pickpocketing Cicero's gold, Cicero will attack and talk about his ploy to trick the Dragonborn and reveal he's not really injured. However, if the Dragonborn sheathes their weapon(s), Cicero will accept the surrender and go back to his fetal position.
  • If the Dragonborn decides to kill Cicero, the door can be unbarred across from the door leading to the room Cicero is hiding in. Once the door is open, back up onto the steps in the first room, sneaking and shooting Cicero with a bow from a distance will cause him to get up and immediately lay back down. The process can be repeated until he is dead.
  • Humorously, the numeric value in the Console Command Quest Stage ID for the objective to "Behold Shadowmere" is 666.
  • Killing Cicero will charge the Ebony Blade. Those who are with the Dark Brotherhood but are iffy about certain contracts may choose to kill Cicero for further progress on the Blade.
  • With the Perfect Touch perk, sets of Shrouded Armor can be pickpocketed from the Sanctuary Guardians.
  • Cicero writes in his journal that "the guardians of the Sanctuary recognize me as Keeper," so he is not attacked by the Guardians. Although the Dragonborn is Listener, and had the pass-phrase to enter the Sanctuary, the Guardians are still hostile. This could mean that they understand why the player has been sent to the Sanctuary, much like the specter of Lucien Lachance, and thus the Guardians are protecting Cicero.


This section contains bugs related to The Cure for Madness. 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.
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  •  360   PS3   Although the Guardians can't be looted after they are killed, the Dragonborn can pickpocket them for Shrouded Armor pieces and weapons/arrows, if the Misdirection and Perfect Touch perks have been unlocked. If done fast enough, the weapons they drop when killed can also be picked up.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The Dragonborn may get stuck in an infinite loop where Astrid says "You need to hear this!" and then never says anything else.
    • This can be fixed by simply waiting in position for an hour.
  • If Cicero is killed, and his armor set looted, he can be raised by using the Conjuration spell Reanimate Corpse and then brought through a new loading screen. When this is done, his armor will re-spawn on his body.
  •  360   If the last Guardian is killed and looted, the game may freeze.
  •  360   Sometimes after retrieving Cicero's journal, when reporting back to Astrid it will state "This person is busy." Reloading the game from the point of entering the Sanctuary, then talking to Astrid, grabbing the journal, and reporting back to her, should resolve the issue.
  • The door in the southeast corner of the room just before the ice caves can be opened by simply jumping over the door bar. If successful, the Dragonborn will be just outside Cicero's room.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Sometimes after returning to Astrid once Cicero has been killed, she will say her first line of dialogue then will be unable to be interacted with. Instead when she is talked to, she will repeat the same line of dialogue over again.
    •  PC   Use the console command setstage DB07 200 and then setstage DB08 2. This will cause the quest to end and the next to begin.
  •  360   PS3   Occasionally when attempting to leave the Sanctuary after killing Cicero, the door will not respond to use (or be replaced by a wet stone wall), thus making it impossible to leave. Simply restarting the console will fix this.
  • When arriving at the Dawnstar Sanctuary, the Dragonborn may not be able to talk to Arnbjorn immediately, but if attacked and killed he might start dialogue. Alternatively, loading an old save and riding Shadowmere all the way up to Arnbjorn without dismounting until after "discovering" him may resolve the issue.
  •  PC   Sometimes Shadowmere does not spawn outside in the pool of water. If Shadowmere doesn't spawn, the Dragonborn should stand by the pool, then type prid 0009CCD8 and moveto player on the console. This will then spawn Shadowmere in the pool.
  •  PC   360   Cicero may not attack on occasions when attempting to kill him. He will stand upon being attacked and lay back down immediately.
  • Time may permanently slow down when fighting the Sanctuary Guardians in the Dawnstar Sanctuary if Quick Reflexes is unlocked and it comes into effect while fighting them. Time will still be slowed down after the effects of the perk should have worn off. This can be solved by opening the skills or map menu, exiting and re-entering the Sanctuary, or saving then loading that saved game.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If Cicero is pickpocketed while he is lying down (apparently injured), he will get up and attack. The only way to get out of this is by quickly running, closing doors, and resetting traps while running from him. When the Sanctuary is exited, quickly getting on Shadowmere (assuming he is being kept), and fast travelling immediately to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary will lose him.
  • Sometimes the Dragonborn will complete "Breaching Security" and then be told to go speak with Astrid as there has been an incident with Cicero. When speaking to Astrid the only dialogue option available is to ask her about herself. Veezara may also not be available. This can be fixed on the PC by going into the console and writing setstage DB07 15 (this only fixes the Astrid problem). However, when the Dragonborn checks Cicero's room they may find him in his room acting normally. Loading an earlier save does not always fix the problem.
  •  360   Although followers aren't supposed to be able to enter Dark Brotherhood Sanctuaries, they may be able to enter the Dawnstar Sanctuary with the player during this quest if one has a follower accompanying them.
  •  NX   If the Dragonborn beheads Cicero, his hood will stay attached to his body instead of his head.