Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Waking Nightmare is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must assist Erandur, a priest of Mara and formerly a priest of Vaermina, to stop the nightmares experienced by the people of Dawnstar.


I've overheard two citizens of Dawnstar complaining about horrible nightmares. They seem to be relying on a priest of Mara named Erandur for assistance.


  1. Follow Erandur to Nightcaller Temple
  2. Speak to Erandur
  3. Follow Erandur
  4. Follow Erandur to the Library
  5. Speak to Erandur
  6. Locate The Dreamstride
  7. Speak to Erandur
  8. Follow Erandur to the laboratory
  9. Speak to Erandur
  10. Locate Vaermina's Torpor
  11. Speak to Erandur
  12. Drink Vaermina's Torpor
  13. Release the Miasma
  14. Disable the Magical Barrier
  15. Speak to Erandur
  16. Follow Erandur to the Skull of Corruption
  17. Defeat Veren and Thorek
  18. Speak to Erandur
  19. Wait for Erandur to dispel the barrier
  20. Murder Erandur or allow Erandur to complete his ritual
  21. Take the Skull of Corruption (optional)


The people of Dawnstar are not sleeping well, experiencing terrible nightmares every night. Erandur, a priest of Mara, wants the Dragonborn's help to destroy the Skull of Corruption, which will release Vaermina's hold on people's dreams.

This quest is given after visiting Dawnstar and speaking to Erandur, who is in the Windpeak Inn. All the townsfolk are suffering the same nightmares and Erandur knows how to get rid of them. He wants the Dragonborn to travel with him to the Nightcaller Temple, which is just a short distance east of Dawnstar, to stop the nightmares. If pressed for details, he simply insists that the Dragonborn needs to trust him as a priest of Mara.

The entrance to Nightcaller Temple is the home of three frost trolls. Snow bears, snowy sabre cats, ice wraiths or frostbite spiders may be there instead, depending on the Dragonborn's level. At the entrance, Erandur warns about the dangers within. Priests and Orcs battled, until a gas called the Miasma was released that put everyone (both priests and Orcs) to sleep. He fears that, when the doors are opened, the gas will dissipate, and everyone will wake up and be hostile.

Once inside, the quest mainly requires the Dragonborn to follow Erandur. Erandur will cast a fire spell on the wall to create an opening. In the next room, Erandur points out the Skull of Corruption, and says that the inner sanctum must be entered. Following him down a curving set of steps leads to some leveled Orcs waking up that will attack if given the chance, and a blue barrier. When the barrier is reached, Erandur reveals himself as a former priest of Vaermina who ran away during a long-ago attack on the temple by the orcs. He became a priest of Mara and now wishes to resolve loose ends in the Temple.

In order to pass through the barrier it will be necessary to go to the library to find the book The Dreamstride. There will be Vaermina Devotees to fight along the way and inside the library. Upon locating the book, Erandur states that there is a way to pass the barrier, but it requires Vaermina's Torpor, a potion that allows the user to travel by following another's dreams.

The next stop will be the laboratory, where Vaermina's Torpor is stored. There are some more invader Orcs and Vaermina Devotees that will need to be dealt with along the way. The Torpor is located on the shelf in the corner of the laboratory. When Vaermina's Torpor is located, Erandur instructs the Dragonborn to drink it and upon doing so, they will become Casimir, a Vaermina Devotee during the Orc raid on the temple. Casimir is instructed to release the Miasma to protect the Skull.

After releasing the Miasma by pulling a large ring on a chain on the wall just to the left of the barrier, the Dragonborn will find themselves on the other side of the barrier, where they must collect the Soul Gem powering it. Erandur remarks about what happened, and then proceeds to the inner sanctum.

The stairs leading up to the shielded Skull of Corruption.

As the inner sanctum is approached, Veren and Thorek appear. They are the two Vaermina Devotees that told Casimir—the Dragonborn in the dream—to release the Miasma. After some short dialogue that reveals Erandur to be Casimir, they become hostile. After the battle, Erandur casts a spell to destroy the Skull of Corruption.

Here the choice is to kill Erandur as Vaermina commands and take the Skull of Corruption or let him complete his spell to destroy the Skull.

"He's deceiving you. When the ritual's complete, the Skull will be free and then Erandur will turn on you. Quickly! Kill him now. Kill him and claim the Skull for your own! Vaermina commands you!"

If he lives, he can be a follower for no charge. However, this gives up the chance to acquire one of the Daedric artifacts, which are needed to obtain the Oblivion Walker achievement. Whichever choice one makes, the nightmares plaguing the citizens of Dawnstar will stop.



Waking Nightmare – DA16
ID Journal Entry
20 I've overheard two citizens of Dawnstar complaining about horrible nightmares. They seem to be relying on a priest of Mara named Erandur for assistance.
  • Objective 20: Speak to Erandur
25 Erandur has assured me he can end the nightmares, the source of which seems to be within Nightcaller Temple, a place of worship for Vaermina. I have agreed to assist him in this endeavor and we are now on our way.
  • Objective 25: Follow Erandur to Nightcaller Temple
  • Objective 28: Speak to Erandur
  • Objective 30: Follow Erandur
50 Erandur has revealed that Nightcaller Temple contains the legendary Skull of Corruption, an artifact of great power. In order to end the nightmares, we must breach the inner sanctum and allow Erandur to perform a ritual on the Skull which will render it inert.
  • Objective 40: Follow Erandur to the Library
  • Objective 50: Speak to Erandur
  • Objective 55: Locate "The Dreamstride"
  • Objective 57: Speak to Erandur
90 From a tome obtained in the temple's library, Erandur has discovered a way to breach the inner sanctum. By obtaining a special liquid, we'll be able to perform a Dreamstride... travel a distance using another subject's dreams.
  • Objective 60: Follow Erandur to the Laboratory
  • Objective 65: Speak to Erandur
  • Objective 70: Locate Vaermina's Torpor
  • Objective 80: Speak to Erandur
140 With Vaermina's Torpor in hand, I am ready to undergo the Dreamstride. I must drink the liquid which will enable me to enter the dreams of those who still slumber within these walls and use them to breach the inner sanctum.
  • Objective 100: Drink Vaermina's Torpor
150 I've found myself within the dreams of a priest of Vaermina. I am experiencing the Orc invasion of the temple over a decade ago. In the guise of the priest, I've been tasked with releasing the Miasma and placing everyone inside the temple in a deep sleep.
  • Objective 110: Release the Miasma
  • Objective 120: Disable the Magical Barrier
  • Objective 130: Speak to Erandur
180 After awakening from the Dreamstride, I was able to remove the barrier to the inner sanctum. I must now follow Erandur to the Skull of Corruption so it can be rendered inert.
  • Objective 140: Follow Erandur to the Skull of Corruption
  • Objective 150: Defeat Veren and Thorek
  • Objective 160: Speak to Erandur
  • Objective 165: Wait for Erandur to dispel the barrier
197 I've heard the words of the goddess Vaermina, who claims that Erandur will kill me after the ritual to destroy the Skull of Corruption is complete. I must make a choice; either allow Erandur to complete the ritual and destroy the Skull, or kill Erandur and wield the Skull of Corruption as my own.
  • Objective 170: Murder Erandur
  • Objective 180: Allow Erandur to complete his ritual
  • Objective 200: Speak to Erandur
  • Objective 190: Take the Skull of Corruption
200 I've made my decision, and allowed Erandur to live. The Skull of Corruption has been destroyed and Erandur has offered his services as a companion if I should ever need his assistance.
  • Quest complete
I've made my decision and Erandur has died by my hands. Unfortunately, the Skull of Corruption was destroyed before I could take his life. Such moments are the misfortunes of the indecisive.
  • Quest complete
I've made my decision and Erandur has died by my hands. I now possess the Skull of Corruption and look forward to performing my duties for Lady Vaermina.
  • Quest complete



  • The barrier that blocks the way to the Skull of Corruption can be bypassed by using a wooden plate to pass through the wall that divides the player from the room where the Skull is located. If this action is performed, the Dragonborn can proceed back through the temple to the soul gem generating the barrier and remove it without using the Torpor.
    • If this is done after the Dreamstride and Torpor are in hand, and the appropriate quest dialogue has been exhausted, then the rest of the quest dialogue will occur more smoothly, with less chance of glitches, and you can complete the quest while keeping the Torpor.
  • Both Orc and Dark Elf blood can be collected here for the quest "Discerning the Transmundane."
  • Using conjuration spells to resurrect the devotees and have them fight an Orc will generate unique dialogue.
  • Getting between Erandur and the wall when he uses flames against it, thus stopping the flames from hitting the wall, does not stop the passage from opening.
  • If Erandur is talked to while he is suspended midair in front of the Skull, it will break the spell holding him up and the normal dialogue options will appear. Exiting the dialogue will restore the spell and suspend him in the air again.
  • After going through the Dreamstride, all of the loot respawns on the dead enemies.
  • If the Dragonborn is wearing Miraak's Robes while in the Dreamstride, despite viewing the memories of another person, the tentacle explosion of the robes will still trigger in response to being hit by an attack.
  • If encumbered before entering the Dreamstride, the Dragonborn remains encumbered when in the Dreamstride with no way to remove items.
  • Followers cannot enter the Nightcaller Temple.
  • It is possible to get the achievement without the Skull of Corruption, thanks to a bug in the quest "Ill Met by Moonlight," where two daedric artifacts can be obtained.
  • It is possible to "talk" to some of the Orcs if right next to them when they wake up, though they only spout general dialogue, and they will still attack afterwards.
  • Though the Miasma is supposed to degrade the minds of those under its effects, as seen with the cultists and Orcs in the temple, Veren and Thorek appear not to have been affected as were the rest.
  • When in the Dreamstride, at the first corner of the hallway when running to release the Miasma, there can be seen a priest wearing hooded robes sitting on a bench and casually drinking from a tankard. However, this priest's body cannot be seen in the hallway after exiting the Dreamstride.
  • If Erandur is chosen over the Skull of Corruption, as a follower, he can be killed to fill other Daedric Quests, like "Boethiah's Calling" and "The Whispering Door," by using him as a friendly character.
  •  PC   If Skull of Corruption is chosen over Erandur and the latter is resurrected and converted into a follower via console commands, he loses his unique dialogues.
  • Saving manually can cause Erandur to stop doing anything quest related and can only be reset by loading from previous save before quest was started.


This section contains bugs related to Waking Nightmare. 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 see the list of bugs encountered.
  • After Erandur says he will remove the statue of Vaermina, he may just stand in front of it without casting flames. Attempting to interact with him results in the message "This person is busy." This bug can be fixed if you attack Erandur until he starts attacking you back, then you can withdraw your weapon and he will stop attacking you and the barrier will open.
  • Very rarely, Erandur will enter the building, and turn hostile. If killed, his body will be unable to be looted or reanimated, which makes the quest impossible to complete.
  •  360   It is possible to just walk through the barrier, without needing to get rid of the soul gem, therefore skipping to the next dialogue with Erandur, who apparently thinks the Dragonborn went through the Dreamstride.
  •  360   With Dawnguard and Dragonborn installed, it is possible that the quest will corrupt saves.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Once leaving the Dreamstride, whenever a save is made, it can freeze, causing all progress to be lost after the last save.
    • This can be resolved by turning off automatic saves, and avoiding saves in the temple. It will be safe to save once outside the temple.
  • After drinking the Torpor, the game may crash.
    • This can be resolved on the PC by returning to a save before it is drunk, then using the console commands player.setstage da16 160, followed by movetoqt da16 2. Finally, removing the soul gem will totally skip the dream sequence.
  •  PC   It is possible that after entering Nightcaller Temple with Erandur he will cast flames at the statue of Vaermina to remove it but it will remain and he will walk through without the Dragonborn being able to follow him.
    • This is fixable by opening the console and typing tcl into the command line, allowing the Dragonborn to walk through the wall.
    • This can also be fixed by simply opening the console and typing disable while selecting the statue
  •  PC   360   It is possible for Erandur to remain in the inn instead of leading the Dragonborn to the temple.
    • A fix for this is to wait a few hours and then reenter the inn.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Erandur may disappear when he enters Nightcaller Temple, making the quest impossible to complete.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Erandur does not move from the barrier, or he can get stuck on the stairs after saying to go to the library. Since the door of the library is closed and he has the key, the quest cannot be continued.
    • This can be fixed by using the Dragon Shout Ice Form on Erandur, making him fall from the stairs. Once the ice shatters, he can be forced up the stairs with the Dragon Shout Unrelenting Force. He will enventually speak, saying "this way."
    • Another method is to use the console command moveto player after targeting Erandur to teleport him to the Dragonborn's position.
    •  360   Other possible fixes are leaving the tower and re-entering or reloading an earlier save witch the Dragonborn is outside the tower.
  •  360   Once in the library and the Orcs and Vaermina devotees are killed there, Erandur may simply stand around on the lower level without saying what to do next.
    • This may be resolved by talking to him two or more times to get the next instruction to search on the upper level.
    • If that fails, saving the game, getting killed, and loading the save should allow the conversation to start.
    • Another possible fix is attacking him until he goes into the fallen position.
  • Upon entering the library, if the book The Dreamstride is picked up before prompted to do so by Erandur, it may prevent him from prompting to look for it, making it impossible to continue with the quest.
    • This may be resolved by intentionally knocking out Erandur. (He cannot die at this point.)
    • The same can also apply to collecting "Vaermina's Torpor."
  • After deactivating the barrier and clearing the first two rooms, Erandur may run ahead and wait for the Dragonborn in the final chamber to complete the quest. In doing so, he will trigger enemies on the way that will then look and wait for the Dragonborn. It is also possible for Erandur to disappear making the quest impossible to complete.
  • After waking up, the barrier may still need to be removed.
    • This can be resolved by waiting for a significant length of time and killing all the enemies until the Skull is reached. At that point, Erandur will run towards and past the Dragonborn, away from the skull, only saying they have to hurry. He will eventually disappear and after removing the barrier another Erandur will still follow, triggering the final battle.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Sometimes, the enemies can be talked to before they awaken. They will say something, then "awaken" in a hostile state.
  • After the last fight, just before reaching the skull of corruption, Erandur may offer no dialog options.
    • The quest can be finished by attacking, then calming him.
    • Another alternative is to kill all enemies, then kill Veren and Thorek.
  •  PC   360   When in the Dreamstride the two Vaermina will finish their conversation, but will not start talking to the Dragonborn. This will leave the quest broken and the Dragonborn will be stuck.
  •  360   When fighting the snow bears outside the Nightcaller Temple it may make the Dragonborn be randomly teleported high into the sky where they will fall and die. 
  • If Erandur is killed at the end of the quest, sometimes the option to take the Skull of Corruption will not appear.
    • Reloading an earlier save may fix this.
  • Sometimes, if the Dragonborn is not yet Blood-Kin, they can talk to the orcish invaders, which presents the option of asking them to make the Dragonborn Blood-Kin. They decline and become hostile immediately after exiting conversation with them.
  • While in the Dreamstride, the barrier will still block the doorway despite there being no visible signs of a barrier
  •  360   PS3   After exiting the Dreamstride, some dead enemies will have their clothing removed (unequipped, although it can still be looted from them).
  • After beating this quest, civilians of Dawnstar may still complain about not getting any sleep or having bad dreams.
  • Veren and Thorek may rarely be flagged as essential during the fight, making it impossible to kill them and progress the quest.
  • It is possible to use Unrelenting Force to push an enemy through the barrier, making it difficult to reach them with melee attacks. However, if a finishing blow is initiated on an enemy in this situation, the Dragonborn may be pulled through the barrier during the attack, where they can simply take the soul gem and thus skip forward in the questline without the Torpor.