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ON-qico-Zone Story.png Stop the vampiric assault on Markarth.
Zone: The Reach
Zone StoryThis quest is part of the Zone Story
Quest Giver: Count Verandis Ravenwatch at the Arkthzand Orrery
Gwendis at the North Markarth Wayshrine or the Markarth Wayshrine
Location(s): Arkthzand Orrery, Blackreach: Arkthzand Cavern, Chamber of the Dark Heart, Coldharbour, Markarth, Nchuand-Zel Map, Nchuand-Zel, The Aurbis, Understone Keep
Previous Quest: The Dark Heart
Next Quest: The End of Eternity
Reward: Bulwark of Markarth
1 Skill Point
(?) Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Unknown Experience XP
ID: 6566
The Dark Heart has awakened and grows more powerful with every beat. While Verandis attempts to deal with Rada al-Saran, I need to go to Markarth and stop Lady Belain from sacrificing the entire city to the Void.

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Go to Markarth and talk to Bradan.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

You can either pick this quest up from Count Verandis Ravenwatch at the Arkthzand Orrery immediately after completing the previous quest, or Gwendis at the North Markarth Wayshrine.

Gwendis will tell you about what's happening in the city.

"The war has started! The Gray Host attacked once and a larger force is marching toward the city!
Verandis sent me to tell Ard Caddach to fall back. To save as many of his people as he can. But the ard won't listen to me. He wants to fight back!"
I can talk to Ard Caddach. He might listen to me.
"Great! On your way to Understone Keep, look for Bradan. Arana brought the witch-rebels here to help and Bradan is leading the main contingent of warriors.
He needs to know that the whole purpose of all this is to kill as many Reachfolk as possible."
Right. Rada al-Saran and Lady Belain need as many deaths as possible to awaken the Dark Heart.
"Verandis says the Dark Heart's already awake, but it needs more souls to reach full power.
Oh, he also said that Lady Belain is somewhere in Markarth. She came to lead the Gray Host army. If we can remove her from the battlefield, all the better."
I'll inform Bradan and then go talk to Ard Caddach.
You can speak with Gwendis further after starting the quest.
"I'm going to scout around. Try to determine where Lady Belain is hiding.
Remember, let Bradan know our goal isn't to die defending Markarth. It's to save as many lives as possible. Then go tell the same thing to Ard Caddach."
Where's Verandis?
"Verandis stayed in Blackreach. He was going to head into the Library of Arkthzand and attempt to stop Rada al-Saran from doing whatever it is he's doing with that ancient orrery.
Between that and Belain coming here to lead the Gray Host army …."
Why would Rada al-Saran allow Lady Belain to lead his army?
"The Gray Host army here in the Reach consists of mainly new recruits. Rada al-Saran doesn't have that many experienced commanders he can rely on.
Besides, Lady Belain has a vested interest in sacrificing as many lives to the Dark Heart as she can."
A vested interest?
"That's what Verandis told me. The Nighthollow vampires can only feed on the energy of the Dark Heart. As long as it slumbers, Lady Belain's people remain starving savages.
She wants to complete the massacre of Markarth and fully awaken the Heart."
Shouldn't one of us go and help Verandis?
"You'd think so, right? But Verandis was adamant. Said Rada al-Saran was his problem. He wants us to save Markarth.
If we can keep the Gray Host from killing everyone, maybe the Dark Heart will go back to sleep. Wouldn't that be grand?"

Arana brought her rebels to Markarth to help the ard fight back against the Gray Host. However, a fight is exactly what the Gray Host wants; Lady Belain needs more Reachmen to die so their souls can power the Dark Heart. Verandis stayed behind at the orrery to pursue Rada al-Saran.

Your first task is to enter Markarth and talk to Bradan, who is right in front of the bridge leading to The Hunter's Repose. You'll notice that there are several Witch-Rebel Hunters in the city.

"The Gray Host came out of nowhere. Hit the city like a giant's hammer. Vampires and werewolves, rending and killing anyone they could catch.
The ard's folk thought they were safe in Markarth. Only fools put their trust in walls."
Bradan, you need to know. Every Reachfolk that dies today feeds the Dark Heart.
"Just like what Nathari did to my clan? The bastards!
Arana brought us here to help, but it may be too late. They aren't only marching toward the gates—they're coming at us from beneath the city!"
What do you mean, beneath the city?
"Lady Belain unsealed the doors to Nchuand-Zel and let the Gray Host into the city. We arrived just in time to fend off the first wave. Can't make any promises about the next.
Go to Understone Keep. Tell Ard Caddach and Arana what you told me."
I'll go to Understone Keep.
You can ask Bradan a question before moving on.
"Stay sharp and keep alert on your way to Understone Keep. The Gray Host could attack again at any moment."
So Ard Caddach and Arana are working together now?
"The vampire noble, your friend Verandis, he convinced Arana that we had to help defend Markarth. We marched when Gwendis gave us the word.
Besides, Arana and Caddach are both of the Reach. Reachfolk stick together against outsiders. We always have."
Confront Lady Belain

Quest StagesEdit

A Feast of Souls
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
Verandis has asked me to go to Markarth and warn Ard Caddach. Instead of fighting back against the Gray Host, he needs to fall back and deny as many lives as possible to the Dark Heart.
Objective: Go to Markarth
I should let Bradan know that the Gray Host wants a fight. They want to kill everyone to feed the Dark Heart. He needs to make sure Markarth's defenders work to keep everyone alive and not try to die in a blaze of glory.
Objective: Talk to Bradan
Now that I brought Bradan up to speed, I need to go to Understone Keep and convince Ard Caddach and Arana that we need to deny the Dark Heart as many deaths as we can.
Objective: Go to Understone Keep
Now that I reached Understone Keep, I should find Ard Caddach and let him know the true purpose of this assault on Markarth.
Objective: Talk to Ard Caddach
Ard Caddach explained that Arana chased Lady Belain back into Nchuand-Zel. I should try to catch up to them and help the witch-rebel defeat the ancient vampire.
Objective: Enter Nchuand-Zel
Optional Step: Talk to Gwendis
Optional Step: Look for Clues
I entered the undercity of Nchuand-Zel. Now to find Arana and help her deal with Lady Belain.
Objective: Search for Arana
I found Arana, but she appears to have been seriously wounded. I should talk to her.
Objective: Talk to Arana
Arana was seriously wounded in her battle with Lady Belain, but she thinks she sensed the presence of another keystone in the Nchuand-Zel vaults below. I need to find that keystone so I can enter the orrery chamber in the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Find the Keystone
I located the Nchuand-Zel Keystone, but it's protected by ancient Dwarven wards. I need to figure out a way past the defenses so that I can get the keystone and enter the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Unlock the Nchuand-Zel Keystone
Hidden Objective: Star of the North
Hidden Objective: Star of the East
Hidden Objective: Star of the West
Hidden Objective: Star of the South
Hidden Objective: Release Item
Hidden Objective: Use the Keystone
Hidden Objective: Belain in Orrery
Hidden Objective: Orrery Stopping
Hidden Objective: Verandis Returns
I removed the keystone's protective wards. Time to take it and go to the orrery chamber in the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Take the Keystone
Now that I have a keystone, I can access the orrery inside the Library of Arkthzand. I should head there and make my way to the orrery chamber.
Objective: Go to the Library of Arkthzand
I reached the Library of Arkthzand and met Verandis, who has been seeking a way into the orrery chamber. I should tell him about the keystone I acquired in Nchuand-Zel.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
It's time to use the keystone I acquired in Nchuand-Zel and enter the orrery chamber in the Library of Arkthzand.
Objective: Enter the Orrery Chamber
We entered the orrery chamber to find Rada al-Saran doing something to the arcane machine. We need to try to stop him.
Objective: Confront Rada al-Saran
While Verandis and Gwendis attempt to stop Rada al-Saran and whatever he's doing with the orrery above, Lady Belain teleported me down below into the chamber with the Dark Heart. She's drawing power from it. I need to stop her while I still can.
Objective: Defeat Lady Belain
We defeated Lady Belain, but I heard Arana call out in pain. I should check on her.
Objective: Talk to Arana
With her dying breath, Arana opened a portal to return me to the orrery above. She said that Verandis needs my help. I should hurry through the portal.
Objective: Return to the Orrery Chamber
The ancient orrery is still operating at full power. Verandis told me to run to the far platform and throw the switch. It will take all of us to stop the machine.
Objective: Stop the Orrery
We powered down the orrery. I should let Verandis know what transpired in the Dark Heart chamber below.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
Verandis has asked me to return to Markarth and tell Ard Caddach that Belain has been defeated. I should go to Understone Keep and talk to the ard.
Objective: Return to Understone Keep
Now that I'm back in Understone Keep, I should let Ard Caddach know what transpired in Blackreach.
Objective: Talk to Ard Caddach
Verandis returned to Understone Keep. I should speak to him. Perhaps he learned something more from his study of the orrery.
Objective: Talk to Count Verandis Ravenwatch
We killed Lady Belain, kept the Dark Heart from devouring all of Markarth, and scattered the Gray Host. But Rada al-Saran escaped. I should ask Verandis what we should do now.
Prev: The Dark Heart Up: The Reach Next: The End of Eternity
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