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< Lore: Places: D
Type Settlement
Continent Tamriel
Province Skyrim
Hold The Pale
(Frozen Coast)
Appears in Arena, Dawnstar, Skyrim, Legends
Dawnstar circa 4E 201
"We bid you welcome to the City-State which greets the sun as it begins its journey, Dawnstar..."
– In-game description in Arena

Dawnstar (also known as Danstrar)[1] is a settlement on the northern coast of Skyrim, and the hold capital of the Pale.[2][3] It was once a garrison town, which served as an exile post due to the cold harsh climate and notorious gales.[4][5] The settlement seemingly got its name due to its reputation for "greeting the sun as it begins its journey".[6] It has historically been troubled by the Ice Tribes and Gehenoth.[4] Dawnstar has a history of being the site of battles that have crippled the fate of the Empire.[7]

Dawnstar is neighbored by several settlements, including Bardmont to the south,[8] Helarchen Creek to the southeast, Stonehills to the southwest, and Winterhold to the east.[9] Because of the glacial icefields just to the east, it is the last port before Windhelm that is not icebound following the Great Collapse. Its economy is driven by its two mines, and the people of Dawnstar often find meaning in the stones.[10]

Notable PlacesEdit

The Tower of Dawn (Skyrim)
Dark Brotherhood sanctuary

The city has two mines, Iron-Breaker Mine and Quicksilver Mine, which supply iron and quicksilver respectively. It is home to many fishermen and is an important port.

An ancient Dark Brotherhood sanctuary is located beneath the city. A small, isolated ice cave once connected into this sanctuary after its abandonment, and served as the lair of an Udefrykte.

The White Hall, a large longhouse located in Dawnstar, is the seat of the Jarl of the Pale.

The Tower of Dawn, also called Nightcaller Temple, is a ruined military fort often used as a place of worship which sits upon a cliff top overlooking the town. A small lighthouse sits atop a hill just east of town.[3]


First and Second EraEdit

Dawnstar during the Imperial Simulacrum

The date of Dawnstar's construction is unknown, but it has been in existence since at least 1E 2920.[11] It was after the destruction of his fortress in Dawnstar during 2E 283 that Potentate Versidue-Shaie declared martial law, leading to one of the most brutal and bloody periods in the history of Tamriel. At the time, there was a town south of Dawnstar called Bardmont and it was where the Potentate gathered the Imperial Council and made the proclamation.[8] At some point during the Interregnum, Aelfrydda of Dawnstar found a shipwreck locked in ice with its crew all frozen and frostbitten and presumed dead. They then rose, frost-crusted and icy, and picked up their weapons.[12]

Third EraEdit

During the Imperial Simulacrum in the late Third Era, the city-state of Dawnstar was being ruled by King Ulrarne. It had a rivalry with Whiterun and Winterhold.[6] At the end of the Third Era, Dawnstar's Queen Macalla married Thian, king of Solitude, as part of an expansion of Solitude's power in northern Skyrim, leading to an alliance between the two city-states.[13] The Vesuius family of Imperials were one of the oldest families in the city[14] and one member even participated in the Mythic Dawn's assassination attempt on Uriel Septim VII.[15]

A warrior of the Ice Tribes

In the late Third Era circa 3E 427,[UOL 1] Dawnstar was a garrison town and exile post under Governor Cyril Vinticae. The Ice Tribes held a raid against the town and the Governor's four champions lead forces defending the assault. However, Vinticae rightfully suspected one of his champions of setting the Ice Tribes upon the town.[16] Not knowing which among them was the traitor, he banished them all. He then sent for the soon-to-be Hero of Dawnstar to interrogate the champions and expose the traitor. Local healer Eustacia was ordered to assist in healing the Hero, and her oracular visions would prove crucial in the Hero's attempts to cut through the lies.[17] The Hero braved beyond Dawnstar, gaining the banished champions' aid, questioning them about the battle, and cross-referencing their responses with Eustacia's fragmentary visions. Finally, the Hero revealed the true traitor, returning to Dawnstar with the three loyal champions. The Governor awarded the Hero the Starfrost, a magical frost that channels the prayers of Dawnstar and elemental winter through its user. The Ice Tribes and their forces then began their final attack, overwhelming the town's outer defenses, allowing some to slip through Dawnstar's walls. The hero defended the town, slaying the Ice Tribes and concluding the assault with the defeat of the Gehenoth Thriceborn.[4]

Fourth EraEdit

Dawnstar under attack from a dragon
An Emperor Crab Guardian Spirit attacking near Dawnstar

In 4E 166, a teenage Skald Felgeif became Jarl of Dawnstar after his father died on the battlefield.[7][10] With the crown left to him, he came into his rule in his teenage years and had never really lost the arrogance and sense of invincibility that comes with that age, becoming quick to judge and standing by his choices.[10]

In 4E 201, the people of Dawnstar stood unbreakable and firm despite all their troubles, like their leader, Jarl Skald the Elder, who led the city in the support of the Stormcloaks. Around this time, residents of the city fought the weather, the beasts, and raiders every day in order to keep goods and ore flowing into and out of their port and market.[10] The city was susceptible to dragon attacks, as all of its structures were made of wood and the town walls had long since fallen.[3]

The city was subject to many dark goings on during this time. Skald's subjects suffered from chronic nightmares due to a curse put upon them by Vaermina's Skull of Corruption from within Nightcaller Temple, a curse which was lifted by the Last Dragonborn and a former priest of Vaermina. This wasn't the only daedric influence in the city, as a small cult of Molag Bal worshippers were operating in a hidden cave within the city's quicksilver mine.[18] In the same year, the abandoned Dark Brotherhood sanctuary became inhabited once again, and was the last refuge of the now-crippled guild of assassins after all other sanctuaries were sacked or abandoned. The connecting ice cave was resealed and the Udefrykte within was slain.

Again that same year, a strange set of events started when a novice necromancer named Seviur established himself at a fishing shack west of Dawnstar. He conducted what he believed to be a pacification ritual to summon waves of mudcrabs to the shore so that he could practice his ability to resurrect the creatures as undead. However, frenzied mudcrabs continued to come ashore long after Seviur's illusion magic faded, and he was ultimately killed by the creatures.[19]

A Riften fisherwoman named Viriya sent the Last Dragonborn to the shack to deal with the mudcrabs, as the frenzied crabs posed a threat to locals.[20] Although the attacks subsided, the creatures later reappeared in even greater numbers. Guards were sent from Dawnstar by the Jarl to deal with the creatures, but their ferocity had been underestimated. Dawnstar's forces fled when a Guardian Spirit in the form of an Emperor Crab emerged from the ocean.[21] Although initially in disbelief at the reports, Viriya summoned the Last Dragonborn to Dawnstar and met up with the city's reinforcements to launch a full attack on the crabs. After several waves of mudcrabs, the spirit Emperor Crab reappeared and attacked the soldiers. It was defeated with the use of flaming catapults, ending the threat.[22]

Known RulersEdit

See this section in the following article: The Pale



  • A dish known as "Dawnstar Sun's Dusk Chowder" is named after the city.[23]
  • Arena was originally conceived as a fighting game featuring a tournament that took the player to each of Tamriel's cities to challenge different gladiatorial teams. According to a file from that stage of development left behind in the final game, Dawnstar's gladiatorial team would have been called "the Avengers".[UOL 2]
  • The Daedric artifact Dawnbreaker features a glowing crystal in its cross-guard known as the Dawnstar Gem.[24] This gem has no apparent connection with the city of Dawnstar.

See AlsoEdit


Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.