Arana
Location The Reach
Race Reachman Gender Female
Reaction Friendly
Other Information
Faction(s) Wayward Guardians, formerly Ghostsong Clan
Arana

Arana is a Reachman formerly of the Ghostsong Tribe. She has an intimate connection with Namira, and leads a group of rebels who later come to be called the Wayward Guardians. She has a sister named Nathari.

Related QuestsEdit

Quest-Related EventsEdit

The Despot of MarkarthEdit

After you read the Letter from Lady Belain in the gathering circle, Arana and her sentry come down the stairs.

Arana: "This one, Tayfaern? Come, harrier. Give me your measure."

Speak with her.

"Tayfaern told me about you, harrier. You wanted to talk? Well, here I am.
What will it be? A battle? I haven't turned anyone into a goat recently, but I'm willing to try if you so much as raise your weapon."
You're the leader of the witch-rebels?
"Why does everyone insist on calling us that? Tayfaern, remind me to come up with a better name when time permits.
As for leader …? Well, I guide this gathering of Reachfolk, if that's what you're asking. But what about you? Why are you here?"
Lady Belain sent me to find you. But according to this letter, she's working with the Gray Host.
"Of course she is. She's a vampire, after all. We tried to slay her twice without much luck. Quick as a spooked hare, that one, and twice as cautious. We'll have her fangs soon enough, though.
You can read? What else does that sheet of paper say?"
Apparently, she's meeting with the leader of the Gray Host in Valthume Barrow.
"The leader? Now that's a worthy bit of news.
Bones and birds guide us well, but there's no replacing a cunning hunter. Go to the barrow, harrier. Listen in on their meeting. Find out what Belain and her master are up to, and I'll hear you out."
All right. I'll find out what Lady Belain and the Gray Host are up to.

After you receive your task, you can ask her a few questions.

"The spirits will see you safely to Valthume, harrier. After that? I suggest stealth and a strong blade."
Your rebellion. Do you plan to overthrow Markarth?
"Overthrow Markarth? What in Namira's name would I do with all that dead stone?
No. My purpose is clear. I need to help our people by shaking Caddach out of his dream. If that doesn't work, I'll split his skull and let it spill out on its own."
What dream is that?
"Caddach's dream of being king.
Oh, he has a true heart. In better times, he's a fine leader. But we face a lean season. We're hungry, but instead of filling the larder, he dreams of a golden crown. His foolish pride has brought this upon our people."
He rules Markarth. Shouldn't he be crowned the Reach's king?
"Not yet. Not until all the beasts of the woods howl his name. And every day he heeds Belain is another day he proves me right.
The Gray Host has dark plans for Markarth. Caddach's stubbornness will get everyone in that city killed."
Are you really a witch?
"I am. And a fine one at that.
What? Never met a witch before, harrier?"
Not one quite like you.
"I'm sure! We're not all like the blood-sucking Belain or my misguided sisters from Icereach, though. Some of us aren't overenthusiastic malcontents with a penchant for violence and destruction.
Not all the time, anyway."
Does you power come from Daedra?
"Daedra? Oh, the spirits … the old ones. Yes, I've heard them called that.
The world is full of whispers, for those with the patience to hear. Most thinbloods are just too busy begging pardons from dead gods to pay attention. Pity."
But you do worship the Daedric Princes.
"Daedra, spirits, crows … it's all the same. Where you see evil gods, we see teachers. Cruel ones, for certain. But that's the world, right?
A stone will kill you if it strikes your head, but lifting the same stone makes us strong."
Tell me more about you and your rebels.
"What's to tell? I'm a proud woman of the Reach. A daughter of wind, sweat, and the rich soil. As for my brothers and sisters, they're good Reachfolk, every last one of them. They mind the spirits and love the land.
The real question is who are you?"
I'm <player name>
"A fine name, I suppose. For an outsider. But what's in your heart?
Most thinbloods come to the Reach wheezing under the weight of their purses and writ-laws. You, though. I smell the blood of the Reach in you. Not much, but maybe it's enough."
The blood of the Reach?
"Aye. Free blood. That's what the Reach is. Freedom.
In the Reach, we do as we please. Only way to stop us is to kill us. And we don't die easy. Same goes for you, I'd say."

Blood of the ReachEdit

When you arrive at Rebel's Retreat, you'll find Arana, her bodyguard and Verandis standing in front of the general goods store.

Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "Ah, Arana, here comes my associate now."
Arana: "Aye, that one I know. Very well, Verandis. I'll speak to them."

Speak with Arana.

"I see Verandis's word is good. He said I could treat with you, and here you are.
The count tells me that Lady Belain and the Gray Host leader, Rada al-Saran, seek some powerful relic. The Arkthzand Keystone. Is that correct?"
Yes. I obtained a map that might lead to a place we can find it. Bthar-Zel.
"Let me see your map. Yes, I know that name, but Dwarven mischief riddles the bones of the Reach. It could be anywhere.
Hmm. My mother called this place the Hissing Maze. Said it's full of mechanical monsters that guard a trove of silver."
Do you know where Bthar-Zel is located?
"Three marks … three places to search.
All right. I'll help you and Verandis, but not before the spirits bless our alliance. I want you to undertake a ritual. If the spirits favor you, we'll face the Gray Host together."
And if I don't win the favor of the spirits?
"Positive thoughts, harrier. Positive thoughts.
Participate in the ritual. Then we will see what we will see."
All right. I'll participate in your ritual. What do I need to do?

You can ask her some questions before you move forward.

"Without the blessings of the spirits, it would be unseemly for this alliance to go forward. The ritual begins with the preparation.
Gather a briar heart seed, a Hagraven's eye, and a handful of bright river-shale. Check to the east, west, and south."
Tell me more about this ritual.
"Whenever different clans come together in a common purpose, we seek the blessings of the spirits to confirm we're doing the right thing.
We will ask the Hunter to bind our hearts. If he sees strength in you, we will clasp arms and band together."
Where can I find these ritual components?
"Need a map for that too, do you?
Like I said, the ritual begins with the preparation. We need three things—a briar heart seed, some bright river-shale, and a Hagraven's eye."
Where can I get a briar heart seed?
"They grow in the hills to the south. Just remember your gloves. The briars' thorns are sharper than Dagon's razor."
What about the bright river-shale:
"Check north and west, along the river bank.
Spirits prowl the area, so proceed with caution. Faeries and spriggans and such. I'd put them to sleep for you, but that would be cheating."
And where in the world do I find a Hagraven's eye?
"In a Hagraven's head, of course! Or from a jar. They remove their own eyes to use in rituals, too. There's a coven to the east of here. Nothing but a flock of toad-licking root-hoarders, stealing all the best herbs.
Namira take the lot of them!"
Tell me more about the Hunter.
"You want to know about Old Elk-Eye? The Wolf-Charmer? The Lord of the Hunt?
You probably know him as Hircine."
You're performing a ritual to a Daedric Prince?
"We can call on your gods, too, if you prefer. Care to wager who answers first?
We'll hear from one of Hircine's pups, at least. Or get a hint from a fox spirit or a bloody stag. You're not refusing the ritual, are you?"
No. I'm eager to see this ritual in action.
"Good! Nice to see you thinbloods aren't all hare-bladder cowards after all!"
No, but contacting a Daedric Prince still seems like a bad idea.
"Well, I don't know you all that well, but when it comes to the knack for calling spirits, I think I've got you beat. And I've still got all my fingers and toes, see?
Trust me. Or don't. But either way, do as I ask and gather the ritual components."
Not at all. I overcame Hircine in the March of Sacrifices. (If you've completed March of Sacrifices)
"Did you, now? I thought I smelled the wolf on you. Good. Hope you learned a thing or two. We'll need his cunning before long."
Are all of your rebels here?
"Many, but not all. We have enclaves throughout these hills. But these aren't my warriors, harrier."
Aren't you the leader?
"For now, aye. But these warriors take no oaths, swear no fealty. They serve their clan, the Reach, and the courage painted on their hearts. No one and nothing else."
What will they do when this is all over?
"They'll wander back into the hills to fight their own battles—old and new.
These troubles with the Gray Host have torn clans to pieces. Set sons against fathers, chiefs against wise women. It will take seasons to stitch the Reach back together."
Is your clan with you here?
"No. No, they're not.
Let's talk about something else, all right?"

After gathering the ingredients:

"The harrier returns, swift as a crow on the wing.
I have prepared the ritual fire. Did you bring the components I requested?"
Yes. I have the components.
"Well done, harrier.
Now, once we undertake this ritual, we will be bound by blood and spirit. It's a union stronger than stone and more eternal than the stars. Are you ready for such a commitment?"
Yes. The Ravenwatch and I are ready.
"Good. So am I. Let's hope the spirits feel the same way.
Place the components in the fire and stand back. No matter what you see or hear, stand your ground and think about our alliance. Keep that purpose in your mind. Understand?"
Yes, I understand. I'll place the components in the fire now.
"Go on. Toss the components you gathered into the fire. They're our offering to the spirits."

She then performs the ritual.

Arana: "Heed our call, Hunt-King! Two great packs seek the same full moon. Make them one, bound by common prey."
Arana: "Let Reach and Raven drink of the same dark blood. Howl your blessing, mighty Hircine! Send a sign and guide our hunt!"
Arana: "Look! Hircine paints our quarry in smoke and stars! Our pact has been blessed, harrier!"

You can then talk to her:

"The ritual was a success. Our union has been blessed by Hircine himself! I'm not certain what the spirit showed us, but I'll figure it out eventually. I always do.
Are you ready to search for the keystone now, harrier? I think I know where to begin."
Are you coming with me to find the keystone?
"Aye, harrier. We're bound together now. And how else will you find anything in those forsaken depths?
I think the sky tale we saw in the fire—the Snake—will point the way. Once I figure out how it connects to all this, that is."
Sky tales?
"That's what we call the shapes in the stars. Constellations is your word, I think.
Some of my sisters can read the stars the way you read a book. See the future, learn the truth in every twinkle. I don't have the knack. It's fire and bones for me."
Why do you want to come with me?
"We made a pact and Hircine blessed it. He put us on the scent and I plan to track it to the end. Besides, without someone who knows the Reach, the map's useless.
You know what monsters hate? Silver. According to the stories, Bthar-Zel is full of it."
All right. Let's go find Bthar-Zel.

You can speak with her further before heading out.

"I need to speak to Tayfaern before I set out.
Go on, harrier. I'll find you on the trail."
Is there really silver in Bthar-Zel?
"So the legends say. A treasure trove of the pure metal. Enough to arm my warriors with weapons to slay every vampire and werewolf that marches with the Gray Host.
And your keystone, too, with any luck."
Have you ever heard of the Arkthzand Keystone?
"No, but Reachfolk don't make a habit of poking around in the deep places of the world. The hills are dangerous enough.
Still, Bthar-Zel's legend tells of silver and other wondrous treasures. Wouldn't surprise me to find your keystone there."
And you really think you'll find enough silver to arm your warriors?
"We'll find something, that's for certain. In the Reach, treasure can mean all sorts of things. A plump cave bear is a treasure to a hungry clan.
But as for silver, you won't find a better metal for killing vampires and werewolves."
What did you mean, we're bound together?
"It means what it means. We're tied to each other now. What happens to one happens to both.
Thinbloods make alliances with ink and parchment. We do it with fire, and oath, and spirit-signs. I think you can guess which practice is stronger."
So, if someone breaks this alliance …?
"Then they'd better lace their foot-coverings tight, because they'll find no peace in the wild. Every wolf, hawk, and red-eyed stag heeds the Hunt-King's call.
You see? Reach alliances have teeth. Your Ravenwatch friends better not forget that."
What do you expect to find at these locations on the map?
"Something to do with stars, I expect. How that might lead us to the entrance to a Dwarven ruin, I have no idea.
I think better out there among the rocks and trees, though. We'll see what we see and sort it along the way."

At the Thief plaque:

Arana: "Look, harrier, a plaque. Let's examine it."

After you investigate the plaque, she identifies it.

"That's a sky tale. We call it the Hunter, but I think you would refer to it as the Thief."

Speaking to her here:

"We find these from time to time. We think they're Dwarven. Sky tales etched into metal. Pretty, isn't it?"
You called this one the Hunter?
"Aye, but in and of itself, I'm not sure what it's trying to tell us. Let's keep looking, all right?"

At the Mage plaque:

Arana: "These plaques are as old as these hills, harrier. Take a look."

After you investigate the plaque, she identifies it.

Arana: "That's the Witch in the Stars. Or the Mage, as you call it."

Speaking to her here:

"Sky tales … the Witch is one of the guardians that protects the lesser stars …."
How does that help us find the entrance to Bthar-Zel?
"I don't know … not yet.
It could have something to do with the guardians. Maybe. Let's go to another location on the map."

At the Warrior plaque:

Arana: "We think the Dwarves placed these plaques, but no one really knows. See what that one says."

After you investigate the plaque, she identifies it.

Arana: "That depicts the sky tale of the Headsman. I think your people call it the Warrior."

Speaking to her after seeing all three plaques:

"I knew it would come to me. Eventually!
The ritual, the plaques, the map … it finally makes some sense now."
What are you talking about?
"You missed it, too? What a pair we make!
What did Hircine show us? He revealed the Snake, which I thought was just a substitute for our prey. But the sky tales on the plaques—the Witch, the Headsman, and the Hunter—they're the Reach Guardians!"
And that means …?
"Look at your map. See how the marks form the shape of the Snake in the Stars? And see how one mark is missing? If I place it here, we see the Snake in its entirety. That's where we need to go!
As for the Reach Guardians … well, we'll see."
All right, I'll make my way there now.

You can ask her a few questions before you move on.

"Storytellers say the Dwarves knew the stars better than anyone. Strange passion for people who lived underground, eh?
Anyway, let's get to this final location."
Tell me more about the Snake in the Stars.
"The Snake in the Stars is the Corrupter, the Enemy. If permitted, it would consume the Lesser Stars without hesitation.
Luckily, the Guardians—the Headsman, the Witch, and the Hunter—stand strong and defend the Lesser Stars."
Tell me more about the Witch in the Stars.
"The Witch shines her light on covens that protect the Reach from outsiders and others who mean to do Reachfolk harm.
Her good eye sees through everything—rock, water, and flesh—to find the hard truths. And when she speaks, she never lies."
Why do you call the Warrior the Headsman?
"He carries an axe, doesn't he?
The Headsman stands for swift ends and payment in kind. He delivers justice and punishment in equal measure."
Why do you call the Thief the Hunter?
"The Hunter is the wiliest of the sky tales. Clever as an old fox and swift as a young one.
She watches the Snake in the Stars, finding it no matter where it slithers. She teaches us to keep our feet quiet and our kills as silent as the night."

When you arrive at Bthar-Zel, she points out the puzzle.

Arana: "Aye, this must be the spot. Just look at all this Dwarfcraft."
Arana: "The entrance to Bthar-Zel must be around here somewhere. Always a trick with Dwarves, though."
Arana: "Look at these pillars. More sky tales. Turn those stones in the right order and I think we'll find our door."

You can speak with her here.

"Damned Dwarves, am I right?
Devices aren't natural, what with all the gears and cogs and everything."
Any idea how to open the door?
"Feh. I try not to think too hard about Dwarf mischief. But I do have a notion.
We found three sky tales in the hills, right? Guardians, they were. Your Warrior, Thief, and Mage. I think we need their help to catch our prey."
The Guardian Constellations. Got it.
"I've no mind to rush you, harrier, but if you want to snatch up this keystone, you might want to hop to it."

She makes comments as you activate the Dwarven plaques. After the first cube is activated:

Arana: "That did something, harrier!"

After the second cube is activated:

Arana: "That looks right to me."

After the third cube is activated:

Arana: "You hear that? Well done!"
Arana: "That did it! Wait—arggh! Something's not right … a darkness …."
Gwendis: "Arana! Are you all right?"
Count Verandis Ravenwatch: "An ominous turn. Come, my friend. Let's talk."

Speaking to her here:

"Let me be, harrier. Just need to … just need to get my thoughts sorted."

Talking to her again after you speak with Verandis:

"All right, I'm ready when you are.
There's something in there … something more than Dwarven tricks and devices. I'm not sure what it is, but I felt it."

When you enter Bthar-Zel, she says:

Arana: "So, this is Bthar-Zel, eh? Mind your feet, harrier. Every bit of metal in here means to do you harm."

Speaking to her here:

"I hate places such as this. No birdsong, no fragrant breeze, and not a whispering creek to be heard. Just dead stone and stale air.
Let's find the keystone and get out of here."

When you enter the room east of the entrance:

Arana: "Never seen Dwarfcraft like this. Must have been chiefs who lived here. Chiefs or grand metalworkers."

Enter the central cavern:

Arana: "Namira's blood. They cut the heart out of the ground! It's an entire city under the earth … hiding something worse beneath."

As you approach Bthar-Zel Vault, she senses something is up ahead.

Arana: "We're getting close to something, harrier. Something awful."

When you enter the vault's eastern chamber, you'll find the halls lined with raw silver.

Arana: "The tales were true! Silver! I'll send crafters down to carve it out once we deal with the rest of these metal beasts."

Speaking with her inside the Keystone Chamber:

"What say you, harrier? Ready to give up your civilized ways and join a Reach clan? I can put in a good word for you."

When you step further inside the keystone chamber, she makes note of what she hears.

Arana: "I hear something … wailing and scratching at the walls. There's darkness all around."

When you approach the keystone's chamber, you'll see Verandis and Gwendis in the chamber. Rada al-Saran appears and freezes them in place, allowing Lady Belain to take the keystone. The Dwarven Dynastor drops from the ceiling.

Arana: "Damn it! Belain took the keystone! And that metal beast is standing in our way!"

Speaking to her here:

"We can't go after them with that mechanical monstrosity in our way!
Come on, harrier! Hircine will guide our strikes!"

Once the Dynastor is dead:

Arana: "Well struck, harrier! Now, let's get out of here."

Speaking to her here:

"That was a proper Reach victory! Remember that beating in your chest, harrier, and the sweat on your brow. No metal beast—big or small—knows what victory feels like. That's how we win. That's how we always win.
Come on. Let's get out of here."

Speaking with her in Blackreach:

"I don't hear any clanking behind us. I think we're clear.
Curse that Lady Belain! I thought if we could acquire the keystone, we could finally get the upper hand. I'm tired of snapping at the heels of the Gray Host. I want to go for the throat!"
Maybe we can still catch up to her.
"Maybe, but you have to go alone from here, harrier. There's a fork in the path and we need to go our separate ways. At least for a while.
There's something down here … a darkness. Like leeches in a pond, it takes little bites of my soul."
You're leaving?
"I need to get back to the surface. I need to see the sky. Feel the wind on my skin. I'll rally the warriors and start preparing for the fight to come.
Protect your heart, harrier. This darkness will eat at you, too, if you let it."
Thanks for the warning, Arana.

You can ask her a few questions before parting ways.

"Keep an eye on Verandis, harrier. Rada al-Saran was toying with him. He's got plans for your friend, I think."
Tell me more about the darkness you're sensing.
"It's hard to explain. Most witchcraft is.
Imagine a boulder. Heavy, solid, huge. Now imagine some grinning bastard lowering it onto your chest. Slowly at first, but it starts to crush you. Little by little, it becomes harder to breathe."
Is the feeling of darkness worse down here?
"Aye. It feels like a wet rag sliding down my throat, choking the life out of me. I'll manage. But you need to stay wary. All of you.
Whatever it is, it's like a black pit at the center of a sour fruit. And I don't think it belongs in this world."
Did you get any impressions from the Arkthzand Keystone?
"Dwarf magic is hard to hold. It's so clean. All straight angles, no frayed edges. It's unnatural is what it is.
The keystone might open a door … but more than that. It's eager. It doesn't just want to open. It wants to … activate something."
What about the silver we saw down here?
"I'll send crafters to gather some. We'll fashion it into weapons. Arrow-tips, coated blades.
We have a few metalworkers in the clans. Use what's on hand to survive, same as always. Silver hurts the Gray Host, so we'll work with silver."

The Study of SoulsEdit

Arana after Blood of the Reach

You must speak with her at Rebel's Retreat to end the quest after investigating the Dwemer Ruin with Verandis.

"I wondered if you were going to return, harrier. The worms and ghosts wouldn't stop whispering to me. Talking about dark doings and stirring evil, but they were deadly silent about you.
Did you catch up to Lady Belain?"
Sort of, but she got away again. She's trying to awaken something she called the Dark Heart.
"The Dark Heart, you say? There's a tale as old as the Reach with an evil heart at its center. Like most Reach stories, it ends bloody.
Belain might have slipped your net, but we know what she's on about. Thanks to you, this hunt isn't over yet!"

The Awakening DarknessEdit

You must speak with her at Rebel's Retreat to begin the quest.

"The story of the Dark Heart … the Ghostsong clan knows it well. My clan. Once.
I need to speak with my sister, Nathari. She studied the old secrets. Knows about prophecies both ill and fair. If anyone can glean the mind of Lady Belain, it's her."
Old Secrets?
"Traditions passed down from our foremothers. Like the story of the Prophecy of the Dark Heart. It deals with souls. Shadows. Endings.
I know the core of it, but Nathari understands the nuances. Unfortunately, we haven't spoken in a long, long time."
Would Nathari talk to me?
"An outsider? Not likely. We need someone to intercede on our behalf.
We need Bradan. He's a friend, and he holds the respect of the clan. If he vouches for you, Nathari might talk to you. He often visits Hroldan Ring to trade news. Meet me there."
I'll meet you and Bradan at Hroldan Ring.

If you acquire the quest from Gwendis, you'll need to meet Arana at Rebel's Retreat. Her greeting will be slightly different.

"You're back. Good. I've been thinking about what you learned down below. There's a story that the Ghostsong clan—my clan—knows well. The Dark Heart. My sister Nathari studied the old secrets. If anyone can glean the mind of Lady Belain, it's her."

After agreeing to speak to Bradan, she'll add:

"Bradan can speak to the mood of the Ghostsong clan. Tell him what you told me. I'm sure he'll help us get a meeting with my sister. He's a werewolf, mind you, but I've never had a truer friend.
Look for him at Hroldan Ring. I'll meet you there."
What's Hroldan Ring?
"Hroldan Ring is an ancient site southeast of here. It's neutral ground. A place where all clans of the Reach can gather to trade and share stories.
Bradan visits the place a lot. He loves to chatter with other clans."
Why don't you and your sister talk anymore?
"Years ago we argued about what the Spirit Queen's teachings meant for our clan. Nathari believes that we're meant to return to the old ways, the dark ways, to seek Namira's favor. I believe those days are better left behind us."
So you left the Ghostsong clan?
"More like the clan left me! My sister turned them against me. As the days grew darker, the Ghostsong witches found it easier to see things her way than mine.
Regardless, my people will always be my people."
The Ghostsong clan? That's an unusual name.
"The Spirit Queen often speaks to the witches of my clan. My former clan.
Oh, we honor all of the spirits of the Reach, but the Spirit Queen herself chose our foremothers to be the keepers of dark and powerful secrets."
The Spirit Queen?
"You know her as Namira. And yes, she is a spirit of death. Your soft priests in their stone houses see her as a fearsome specter, fools that they are.
Reachfolk know the Spirit Queen as a guide. She watches over us when we take that final journey."
Your friend Bradan is a werewolf? Can we trust him?
"And your friend is a vampire! Werewolves are Hircine's chosen. Many of the Reach's greatest champions are skin-changers.
Bradan and the other werewolves are nothing like those Gray Host ravagers. They're the clan's loyal protectors."

If you have Lycanthropy, you can respond with:

I'm a werewolf. What will they think of me?
"Aye, I know Hircine's Gift when I see it. There are two kinds of werewolves—those who master their gift, and those who are slaved to it. I can tell which you are.
In the Reach, we judge you on what you do, not what you are. Mostly."

Arrive at Hroldan Ring and Arana will greet Bradan:

Arana: "Bradan! What news of the Ghostsong clan?"
Bradan: "Your sister led the clan to Lost Valley. I was about to join them. Who's the outsider?"
Arana: "An ally against the Gray Host. I'll let them tell you themself."

If you speak to her she'll say:

"I knew we'd find Bradan here at this time of day. Introduce yourself. Talk to him. He won't help if he doesn't get a sense of you and your purpose."

Once you've spoken to Bradan, she'll remark:

"Lost Valley Redoubt? A revelation? I don't know what Nathari is planning, but I don't like the sound of it.
We need to see what's going on in Lost Valley. I'll meet you there."

As you leave, you'll hear:

Bradan: "I'm off to Lost Valley. If you want to find your sister, that's where she'll be."
Arana: "Why Lost Valley, Nathari? What are you planning, my sister?"

Approach the redoubt and you'll see Arana kneeling over a dead Gray Host vampire:

Arana: "This Gray Host scout has been clawed to pieces. Bradan's work, I presume. But why are these monsters here in the first place?"

Speak with her.

"Bradan must have gotten here ahead of us. I'd recognize his handiwork anywhere.
It seems that the redoubt is overrun with Gray Host troops. We'll need to get past them to reach the old ritual site."
Where is the ritual site?
"The Nords built their barrow over the caves that were once used by my ancestors. The Spirit Queen led the first Ghostsong matron to a spot deep beneath the redoubt. I think that's where Nathari has taken the clan."
You make it sound like no one else has used this place in a long time.
"They haven't. My mother had the entrance to the barrow concealed when I was a young girl. No one has used it since before I was born.
I always knew those old stories interested my sister, but I never expected her to lead the clan down there."
Tell me more about your sister.
"Nathari is younger than me, but way too sure of herself. When I was clan's matron I tried to mentor her, but she follows her own heart. Witches can be a stubborn lot.
I only wish she heard others as well as she thinks she hears the Spirit Queen."
What do you think the Spirit Queen is saying to Nathari?
"Doesn't matter what I think. It's what Nathari believes she hears. What she sees in every sign and portent.
From what Bradan said, she thinks it's time to return to the old ways. Blood sacrifice and dark magic. I wanted nothing to do with that."
Is that why you're no longer part of the clan?
"Nathari wanted to be matron. And the clan, they were ready to choose her over me. I wanted to forge new traditions, but she promised them Namira's blessing if they heeded the old ways.
Fear and superstition are powerful motivators."
How do you know that Bradan killed that scout?
"A werewolf killed this vampire, and it wasn't one of those Gray Host mongrels. Bradan would have easily beaten us here. And I know his preferred method for delivering a quick kill.
I imagine we might see more of his handiwork inside the redoubt."

Speak to her before heading into the camp and she'll add:

"Did the Gray Host arrive after the clan entered the barrow? Are they waiting to slaughter them when they emerge, like a wolf gobbling up baby birds as they leave their nest?
We need to reach Nathari and warn her that the clan's in danger."

As you make your way through the camp, she'll remark:

Arana: "I don't understand. It's like the Gray Host is guarding this place."
Arana: "It doesn't look like the Gray Host attacked my clan. At least not yet. We need to find them!"
Arana: "That's a Gray Host command camp up ahead. Let's see what they're doing here."

Eaves drop on Pentarch Draljura then move into the area and Arana will spot a missive:

Arana: "See what you can find."
Arana: "Gray Host scratchings? What does it say?"

Speak with her after reading the letter.

"Well? Do those scratchings on that paper tell you anything about what the Gray Host is doing in Lost Valley Redoubt?"
Lady Belain convinced Nathari to perform a ritual required by the dark prophecy.
"I never should have let Nathari push me aside. She was always drawn to darkness, even as a girl. Lady Belain must have found her eager to believe the right lies.
Does that letter say what Belain hopes to gain from my sister's foolishness?"
She believes Nathari's ritual will awaken the Dark Heart.
"The Dark Heart again? According to the prophecy, death awakens the Dark Heart—by the spirits, what evil has Belain convinced my sister to perform?
We need to find Nathari and stop her before something terrible takes place."
How did Lady Belain learn about the prophecy?
"A stranger visited the clan when I was young. She asked about the old lore. She wore a smile, but I saw darkness in her eyes.
Years later, when I saw her beside the ard's throne, I recognized her. Lady Belain. And she hadn't aged a day."
So your mother and the other witches told her about the prophecy?
"Aye, but my mother spoke in generalities. Lady Belain spent a lot of time with my aunt, though. She was one who saw every word of the prophecy as literal truth. In fact, she taught Nathari her lore.
No wonder Lady Belain sought out my sister."
What does the Prophecy of the Dark Heart actually say?
"The full telling requires hours. We don't have time for that, so I'll be brief.
An ancient darkness sleeps beneath the Reach. At the end of days it will awaken, covering the land in shadow and devouring all. Only Namira's faithful will be spared."
An ancient darkness? You mean the Dark Heart?
"Yes, but Ghostsong witches have argued about the nature of the Heart for generations. Some believe the prophecy is symbolic. There's darkness in every mortal heart. That's my view.
Others believe the prophecy is meant to be taken literally."
What do you mean, literally?
"That the Dark Heart exists. Death feeds it and only sacrifice will awaken it to share its power with those that believe. Dark allusions like that.
Nathari believes the prophecy speaks a literal truth. Maybe she's right, but it's still wrong."

Speak to her again and she'll say:

"The door to the barrow was sealed many years ago, but I remember the way well enough. We'll find it at the top of the hill. My sister and the rest of the clan should be inside.
We need to find them and stop my sister from carrying out this ritual."

As you go through the summit:

Arana: "We're going the right way. The entrance is farther up. Keep going!"
Arana: "We're almost to the summit. The barrow entrance is just ahead."

If at any point you leave the area of the redoubt, she'll say:

Arana: "Going somewhere? I'll wait here for you to return."

Once you reach the door, you'll only see a glowing rock:

Arana: "The entrance should be here somewhere. Look around."

If you speak to her here, she says:

"Help me search. There used to be a concealed entrance around here. My clan used it long ago to bypass the Nord door and all its traps."

Once you find the door, she'll unseal it.

Arana: "Ah, you found the rock. That's actually the door. But it will only open for a Ghostsong witch."
<Arana casts a spell>
Arana: "Well look at that. I've still got it. Now let's enter the barrow and find my sister."

If you speak with her inside the barrow:

"My clan is somewhere beneath this barrow. We must find Nathari before it's too late. Convince her that nothing good can come from trying to fulfill the prophecy."

As you make your way through:

Arana: "Dark magic, rising all around us. Nathari must have started the ritual!"
Arana: "How dare Nathari allow Gray Host soldiers to prowl these halls!"

If you speak to her here, she says:

"I can't believe my sister led the clan back to this place.
Now that I've seen it with my own eyes, I understand why my mother did what she did. Why she wanted to bury the old ways in the past."

In the next chamber, she'll remark on the corpses.

Arana: "Ritual sacrifices. Nathari wants the clan to return to the old ways."
Arana: "These dead are ancient. Clearly not my sister's doing."

You have the option of speaking with her before completing the objective.

"In the past Ghostsong witches made blood sacrifices to the Spirit Queen and the Lord of the Hunt in rooms such as this.
My foremothers believed that death pleased our gods. Nathari still holds with that view."
What happened here?
""My foremothers believed the Spirit Queen granted them power in exchange for the souls they sent to her realm. A death is the greatest gift a mortal can give, after all.
This was where the clan performed ritual sacrifices to appease Namira."
So Lady Belain wants Nathari to perform a ritual sacrifice to awaken the Dark Heart?
"Aye, that seems to be where all this is leading. To awaken the Dark Heart, my coven must sacrifice that which they hold most dear—their own kin. Many Ghostsong clan members are about to die.
That's why Nathari brought them here. We must stop her."

If you speak to her again, she says:

"Dark days are upon us, harrier. I fear for my people."

When you examine the Ghostsong Sacrifice, she says:

Arana: "I can't believe she actually did it. Nathari sacrificed this Ghostsong hunter."

If you speak to her after finding the dead Ghostsong hunter, she says:

"Death was once a part of my clan's rituals. Long ago, we sacrificed enemies and innocents alike in these halls to receive the Spirit Queen's blessing. But to kill one of our own?
We need to find Nathari and the rest of my clan before it's too late."

When you meet Nathari:

Arana: "Nathari, no! What have you done?"
Nathari: "The hour is upon us, dear sister! You must feel it. The darkness!"
Arana: "You sacrificed our own people! Oh, poor Saagan!"

You must speak with Nathari. After your conversation, Nathari teleports away.

Nathari: "The clan chose me, Arana! The Spirit Queen demands death and I shall give it to her!"
<Nathari's form sinks into the ground, teleporting away with dark magic>
Arana: "Damn it. I should have never left."
Arana: "No. I can't allow this. We need to find Bradan and the others."

Speak to her:

"This is horrible. Nathari has convinced herself that she's doing the will of the Spirit Queen—and she persuaded at least some of the clan to go along with this madness.
We have to find a way to stop her!"
Lady Belain and Nathari both believe that sacrificing your clan will awaken the Dark Heart?
"Aye, that seems to be the long and short of it. The Dark Heart will beat again and its power will surge up from the deep places to consume everything. Its darkness will cover the world."
Why would they want that to happen?
"The prophecy talks of death and destruction, but it also says that those who embrace it will be spared. There's power in the darkness, especially for those who believe and hold true to its word.
Now let's go try to save my clan from this madness."

If you speak to her again, she says:

"Lady Belain's designs be damned. We must put a stop to this for the sake of my clan. Maybe for the sake of the entire world."

Inside the Lower Barrow:

"I can't believe that Bradan and all the members of the clan would go along with this willingly. We need to find them.
And if any of the Ghostsongs try to stop us … well, they seem to be willing to die anyway. More's the pity."

Continue your search for Nathari:

Arana: "The old matrons mentioned a ritual cave deep within the barrow. It must be this way."
Arana: "Ghostsong hunters loyal to Nathari? Surely some must have opposed her."

When you come across a dead Ghostsong Clanswoman

Arana: "This is madness! Nathari will bring ruin upon the entire clan!"

When you approach the Ghostsong Witch summoning a Shade:

Arana: "More dead. It seems when they did fight back, they were quickly overwhelmed."

Eventually, you'll come across a particular corpse.

Arana: "Oh, poor Senan. Not you too, old friend? What's that beside him?""

Read Senan's Note.

Arana: "What do those scratch marks tell you?"

Speak to her.

"Not many of my clan learned the scratchings, but Senan could read and write the Imperial language. He spent years in Moricar's Imperial Guard.
What did he write down?"
Senan and some of the others fought back. He was mortally wounded by another clan member.
"As we've seen, Nathari has convinced some of the clan to support this mad endeavor.
This is Lady Belain's doing, spirits take that woman! She's laughing, far from here and safe while Nathari does exactly what she wants."
The note mentions the Dark Descent, a pit where the rest of the clan is going to be sacrificed.
"Aye, I remember that from the stories. A cavern where the floor drops into darkness. That's where the first Ghostsong witch made a bargain with the Spirit Queen. Legend says the pit divides the land of the living from the dead.
Let's keep moving."

If you speak with her again, she'll say:

"We must stop the ritual. Nathari is leading the Ghostsong clan to destruction.
She believes that she's fulfilling Namira's ancient command. Nothing will sway her from her course now."

If you speak to her after you enter the Descent, she'll say:

"We're beneath the barrow. Reachfolk occupied this place long before the Nords came along and built a tomb over it. My ancestors were the first to sink their roots into this land.
I feel something here … an emptiness, a darkness farther down."

When you enter the Dark Descent, Arana will address you.

Arana: "Do you feel it? The pull of dark magic from below? We need to hurry!"

In the Chamber of Witches, you'll hear Nathari and her mages.

Nathari: "The Dark Heart stirs! You can't stop the prophecy from being fulfilled!"
Ghostsong Ritualist: "The prophecy shall be fulfilled!"
Ghostsong Ritualist: "You seek to challenge us, outsider?"

Defeat the wave of creatures and Arana will say:

Arana: "Nathari's power is growing. Every sacrifice strengthens the darkness."

If you speak to her, she says:

"My former sisters draw strength from the darkness gathering below. It's changing them. These powers of shadow are like nothing I've ever seen before.
And each sacrifice makes them stronger. We need to catch Nathari and end this."

When you reach the ritual site:

Arana: "Below us! The darkness gathers in that infernal pit."

When you approach the pit, she says:

Arana: "I can feel it. The Dark Heart. It's waking up!"
Nathari: "The darkness, it responds! The Dark Heart awakens!"
Nathari: "Give your lives so the Dark Heart may beat again!"
Nathari: "Too late, sister! The prophecy is fulfilled!"
Arana: "Stop Nathari before she feeds my entire clan to the darkness!"

When you enter combat with Nathari, Arana runs to the edge of the pit to keep the darkness at bay.

Arana: "The darkness, it makes Nathari stronger. I'll try to contain it!"

As you get closer to defeating Nathari, she turns into a Voidmother:

Nathari: "The Dark Heart, it selects me!"

Nathari casts circles of magic that will quickly drain your vitality, but Arana offers help:

Arana: "Use the portals to escape!"
Arana: "Use the portals to get out of there!"

Once Nathari is dead:

Arana: "We did it, harrier! The Dark Heart returns to its slumber!"
Arana: "Bradan! You're alive. Thank the spirits!"

Speak to her before speaking to Bradan:

"This is all that remains of my clan? Oh, Nathari. Your prophecy brought an ending to things, that's for certain. I should have dealt with you sooner.
The survivors will have a place with us at Rebel's Retreat, if they want it."

After speaking to Bradan:

"Go. I'll meet you back at Rebel's Retreat. I want to say a last prayer for the dead before I leave.
Maybe I can free my sister's soul from the darkness that took her. Give her some modicum of peace."

Back at the rebel camp:

"The news that Lady Belain was invoking the Prophecy of the Dark Heart. I never expected it to lead to the decimation of my old clan at the hands of my sister!
Still, I can't help feeling that this was a rehearsal for something even more terrible."
What do you mean, even more terrible?"
"The prophecy says it takes more than a handful of deaths to awaken the Dark Heart. Oh, Nathari got something to stir, but I think Lady Belain just used her to test the waters.
The darkness responded, though. Thank the spirits you stopped the ritual."

If you talk to her after the quest, she says:

"I need to consider what happened in the barrow, harrier. Think about what I could have done to save my sister. What I can do to save the clans that look to me to lead them.
Oh, is that your friend Gwendis over there? I think she's looking for you."

The Dark HeartEdit

If you speak to her before heading to Nighthollow Keep, she'll assure:

"Go. Help Verandis find the Dark Heart. My hunters will be ready when you call for them."

A Feast of SoulsEdit

Inside the Nchuand-Zel dwemer ruin, you'll hear Arana's labored breathing:

Arana: "Harrier? Over here!"
Arana: "I knew I sensed … a friendly presence. Thank the spirits … for leading you here."
"I wanted to finish this, but Belain … she's too strong. And the Gray Host …. I tried to return to Markarth … but got turned around."
Tell me what happened.
"I chased Lady Belain into the depths … battled her to a standstill. Then she summoned the Gray Host.
She fled while I fought them off. To the orrery, I think I heard her tell the Gray Host commander."
Verandis went to confront Rada al-Saran at the orrery.
"Listen … I sensed something else down below … a second keystone. Find it and you'll be able to … enter the orrery chamber."
I understand. Let me to escort you back to Markarth.
"Forget me … get the second keystone. Don't let Belain draw any more power from the Dark Heart."
I'll find the keystone and get into the orrery chamber.
"Don't linger, harrier. All this death, it fuels the Dark Heart. Making it stronger with every passing moment. Find that keystone and stop Lady Belain. Hurry."
Are you sure you'll be all right?
"I already feel my strength returning. It's the Dark Heart. Like the Ghostsong witches of old, I feel its power stirring within me. I hear the whispering of Namira.
The Spirit Queen is with me. I won't die in this place."
Isn't the Dark Heart evil?
"No, not in and of itself. Like all of Namira's gifts, how we use it is where good and evil come in. It's Belain who is twisting it to this vile purpose. Stop her.
Go on. I'll gather my strength and then see where the Spirit Queen wants to lead me."

After you leave her:

Arana: "Down the stairs, then look for the vaults. That's where … I fought Lady Belain."

When you confront Lady Belain, at the end of her monologue, Arana will appear:

"The Spirit Queen led me here, harrier! I'll help you defeat this abomination!"
"Look how Belain corrupts Namira's gift! I'll create void portals. Use them to reach those voidmothers and destroy them!"

She will tell you when a portal is up:

"She's drawing power. Use the portals!"
"Move! Use a portal now!"
"Use the portal. Get out of there!"
"The portals will help you reach the voidmothers!"
"use the portal, harrier!"
"Sharp work, harrier! I'll open another portal."

After defeating Lady Belain.

Arana: "Harrier ...."
"Lady Belain … is she dead?"
Yes. We defeated her. But Arana, what happened to you?
"The Spirit Queen … Namira … she required a champion. She gave me the strength to press on … despite my wounds.
Now … that strength is gone."
The Spirit Queen will just let you die?
"She is the spirit of death and decay. Belain defied a natural death, as all vampires do. Using Namira's energy like that, it was an affront. I am … happy to have done my part.
Verandis needs your help. Go, harrier. Use this one last portal …."
I'll go help Verandis.
Arana: "Please, help Verandis … I see it now … the Lord of the Gray Host threatens all Nirn."

Arana then dies.

Kingdom of AshEdit

After defeating Rada, Verandis will resurrect Arana, whose soul went to the Dark Heart:

Gwendis: "Arana?"
Arana: "I—I can breathe … I'm alive?"
"I'm no illusion. Flesh and blood. Alive as can be."
How can that be?
"I can't say myself. I remember being here. In this room. I remember the wound. Then nothing but a cold, icy current dragging me under. I drowned for so long … until a warm hand fished me out."
Who?
"I couldn't see. Everything was just warmth and light. There was a voice though, guiding me. Calling me back.
It sounded like Verandis."
Verandis brought you back to life?
"As I live and breathe, it was Verandis who lead me here. I don't understand much of what occurred, but of that I'm certain.
That, and I didn't come back alone."
You're saying others came with you?
"There were a great many others drowning in that icy current. I'm certain I wasn't the only one pulled ashore. It's just a feeling, but a strong one.
I want to see if that feeling speaks true."
Where are you headed?
"Markarth. That's where the spirits call me now. I have no fondness for the place, but that's where my people need me."
About the last time we saw each other ….
"You did what you thought was best and the price I paid has been returned. None of us could have imagined this is where our path would lead, but I've no complaints with the outcome. No complaints at all."

Second ChancesEdit

After the Ard Caddach directs you to recruit Arana:

"My ears are burning. Is that my name on the wind?"
"Not even this gloomy, old, stone keep can dampen my spirits. My dreams hold true. Markarth is alive with joy.
But you didn't approach to listen to me. What is it you wanted?"
Ard Caddach wants to know if you're willing to become his new counselor.
"I'm barely foot to stone and he's clamoring for my attention? I had no mind to stand by a throne when I first started my journey. Now, here we are. The Reach has suffered so much. I want to help restore the land.
Aye, I'll serve."
I'll give him your reply.
"I can speak for myself. You have more important matters to attend to.
There's a friend who's journeyed a long way to thank you personally for all you've done. It would be rude to keep them waiting."
All right, where can I find them?
"There's an out of the way chamber in the rear of the keep where you can meet.
Now, I should find the ard and make sure he thinks before he speaks."
Can you tell me more about this friend you want me to meet?
"Aye, I can. But I won't. I'm enjoying the suspense.
Off with you."

At the celebration:

"Finally, the guest of honor has arrived! Let's have a word before we begin."
"Not a moment too soon. Caddach's eager to demonstrate that he's the equal of any Nord king. He hopes it will legitimize his claim as king of the Reach.
He's not wrong, but he'd look more a fool if I weren't here to keep his temper on a leash."
Seems like you're already a helpful advisor.
"That I am. It's a new dawn. For me, for Markarth, for the Reach. After all you've done to bring it all back from the brink of Oblivion, putting up with Caddach's arse-headed notions is the least I can do to make sure it wasn't wasted effort."
Does that mean you're getting along?
"Let's not stretch the bounds of reason. There'll be no shortage of bickering and cursing in our future, but there's trust. So long as we both want what's best for the Reach, that'll do.
Best see to him now, I can see him casting glares our way."
I'll speak with him.
"Now, Caddach's eager to get this under way. If it were anyone else keeping him waiting … well, it's not just anyone else keeping him waiting. So he'll bide.
Enjoy the moment, harrier. You only live once. Well, some do, in any respect."

After the speech:

"The spirits must have plans for me, harrier. Why else put me back here in the Reach? I'll help keep Ard Caddach out of trouble for awhile. After that, we'll see."
What's next for you?
"It's strange to say, but I don't want to think too far ahead. After everything that happened … I want to relish the present moment. Help Caddach, my people. Just enjoy the time I've been given.
You should try it, harrier. Do you a world of good."