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ON-qico-Zone Story.png Build an army to take on a Daedric Prince.
Zone: Coldharbour
Zone StoryThis quest is part of the Zone Story
Objective: The Hollow City — Help restore the glory of the Hollow City.
Quest Giver: The Groundskeeper
Location(s): The Hollow City, Fighters Guildhall, Mages Guildhall, Chapel of Light
Prerequisite Quest: The Hollow City
Next Quest: Crossing the Chasm
Concurrent Quest: Into the Woods, Light from the Darkness, Vanus Unleashed, Breaking the Shackle
Reward: Ayleid's Hope
High Leveled Gold
XP Gain: High Experience XP
ID: 4610
The Groundskeeper surveys her growing city
I need to rebuild my army if we're going to have any chance of confronting Molag Bal and stopping the Planemeld. The mysterious Groundskeeper suggests I rescue as many people as I can and send them to the Hollow City.

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Complete Light from the Darkness and Breaking the Shackle.
  2. Talk to the Groundskeeper.
    • (Optional) Bring allies to the Hollow City and collect the Lights of Meridia.
  3. Talk to the Groundskeeper outside the cathedral.
  4. Talk to King Laloriaran Dynar inside the Chapel of Light before and after the Council of War.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

Talk to the Groundskeeper near the Cathedral in the Hollow City after listening to her story. She asks you to seek out the Mage and the King.

"You shall require more than just the King and the Mage, of course. But they are as good a starting point as any.
Others in this realm, allies current and soon to be, all have important parts to play in this endeavor."
"As you seek out the Mage and the King, I'm sure you shall meet others who require your aid. Look for those you trust and who would be willing to join us here."
"Go west, beyond the Moonless Walk. There, you shall find the Ayleid King held within a tower of darkness.
Vanus the Mage is somewhere in the eastern plane. His exact location is hidden from me."
I'll find the Ayleid King and Vanus the Mage.
"I recommend heading west first to find the Ayleid King, but the choice is yours.
If you wish to free King Dynar, you must recover the Lights of Meridia. The lights have the power to unlock his prison of darkness."

While you are looking for them, you can send other survivors to the Hollow City. She recommends starting with the Ayleid King in the west. Note that there are no quest markers for these objectives, but that The Moonless Walk and The Black Forge will be added to your map. You can ask her additional questions about the Lights.

The Ayleid KingEdit

The Groundskeeper says the Ayleid King is west, beyond the Moonless Walk, in a tower of darkness. In order to unlock the tower, you need one of the Lights of Meridia, which can be obtained from the Moonless Walk quest chain.

You need to complete Into the Woods at the Moonless Walk and then complete An Unusual Circumstance or The Shadow's Embrace, after which you will get inside the Lightless Oubliette. You will free the Ayleid King on the next quest from King Laloriaran Dynar, which is Light from the Darkness.

After you have rescued him and returned the Fighters Guild in the Hollow City, talk to King Laloriaran Dynar, the last Ayleid King.

"It is good to be back in this ancient city. I need to assess our strengths and weaknesses, determine how best to make our assault against Molag Bal.
If we strike before we build up a sufficient force, however, I fear we shall lose this war."
What do you suggest?
"The soldiers. The ones who call themselves the Fighters Guild. They seem strong and capable, at least at first glance.
I shall speak to their leader at once."
I'm not sure who's in charge of this force
"No leader? That is an unacceptable situation. I shall take command of this Fighter [sic] Guild force. It is the only logical solution.
Talk to those within this building. After I consult with the Groundskeeper, I shall join you inside."

He suggests using the Fighters Guild soldiers as the main force against Molag Bal and decides to take commands when he learns that there is no current leader. When you go inside, you will witness Darien Gautier and Valorone arguing, neatly displaying the lack of current leadership.

Darien Gautier: "Your nagging is becoming more annoying than my persistent rash. We finally have a secure base—to go back outside without a plan is even too foolhardy for me."
Valorone: You want us to hide behind these walls? To leave our comrades to die while you sip wine and lounge about? You have no honor, knight!"
Darien Gautier: "Don't lecture me about honor, Elf! You have no idea what I've seen or what I've gone through!"
Ferva Hloril: "A moment, gentlemen. Postpone your exchange of harsh words long enough to acknowledge our visitor."

Wait for them to stop, then talk to Darien Gautier.

"My apologies for that display. The whole rash comment—just a figure of speech, of course.
So! I suppose you know more about this place than any of us? Like where I can get a decent drink?"
The city is a safe haven, a place where we can regroup and reorganize.
"A safe haven, eh? I didn't really expect to see cheerful flowers and clear water anywhere in this dark realm. I assumed we were walking into untimely and painful deaths.
Glad to see I was wrong this one time."
How did you end up here?
"I couldn't let you go off and save the world all by yourself, could I? Not with just these Fighters Guild braggarts.
Besides, there was a portal. How could I not step through and see what was on the other side?"
Who's leading this group?
"That's a good question. I heard that Captain Alphaury was killed shortly after we were scattered. I was hoping to find another officer here, but no such luck."
I rescued an Ayleid King. He wants to help assemble our forces.
"An Ayleid? I thought they were all, you know, dead.
Of course, this is a Daedric Prince's plane. I really need to stop being surprised by such revelations. I have a feeling that won't be the strangest thing I find out before this is all over."

King Laloriaran Dynar enters and convinces the guild members to let him lead.

King Laloriaran Dynar: "Attend me, soldiers! We have a war to win and time grows short.
Valorone: "What in Auriel's name is this? Who are you?"
Darien Gautier: "So that's the last Ayleid, huh? I thought he'd be more … dusty. Isn't that what happens when Elves get really, really old?"
Valorone: "Shut it, you fop."
King Laloriaran Dynar: Who's in charge of this group? Step forward and address me."
Ferva Hloril: "Captain Alphaury was killed. We have no commanding officer at present."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "Then allow me to rectify that. I shall lead you. We shall recover your comrades and complete your mission. If that does not work for you, your services are no longer needed."
Valorone: "I don't know who you are, but you aren't Fighters Guild. You have no authority over us!"
King Laloriaran Dynar: "Do you challenge me, then? Do you want me to kill you to prove my combat prowess to your companions?"
Darien Gautier: "I wouldn't necessarily mind seeing that. He is kind of annoying."
Valorone: "How can you expect us to lay down our lives for someone we never met? Trust is earned on the battlefield!"
King Laloriaran Dynar: "If you want to survive, if you want to win this, you must trust me. Allow me to explain why you need my leadership."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "We shall work this out. I understand your reservations. But with my leadership, the Fighters Guild will help us win this war."

Vanus the MageEdit

Rescue Vanus Galerion: The Groundskeeper says Vanus the Mage is somewhere in the eastern plane, but she does not know his exact location.

You need to complete Vanus Unleashed at the Black Forge, and help him complete his mission at the Great Shackle in Breaking the Shackle.

"Let's head inside and formulate a new plan to deal with this danger."

After you escaped back the Hollow City, talk with Vanus Galerion—who is already planning for the next step.

"I would love to explore this lost city, but apparently we still have much to do. This planar vortex that Cadwell describes concerns me greatly.
Let's head inside and formulate a new plan to deal with this danger."
What are your thoughts on the current situation?
"If what Cadwell says is true, our job isn't finished here. And I'm positive we got the Daedric Prince's attention at the Shackle. He won't be too happy about what we did to his toys.
That means we need to hit him before he hits us."
What do you suggest?
"I need to consult with my colleagues in the Mages Guild. We need to gather whatever information we can on this planar vortex. I hate going into a situation blind."
Anything I can do to help?
"Let the mages inside know that I'll be joining them in a moment. I need to finish with Cadwell and the Groundskeeper first.
I don't know about you, but I find them both to be more than a little … peculiar."
Tell Nalia the good news

He wants to consult with the members of the Mages Guild about the planar vortex, but wants you to introduce him. Once inside, you will need to talk with Nalia, who believes that Vanus Galerion died and that the original Mages Guild team is a veritable skeleton crew.

"You must be the person who rescued all these people. We were part of Vanus Galerion's group before … well, before everything fell apart.
We appreciate everything you've done for us."
Is this all that made it back?
"The four of us, yes. There were many more, but, well… you've seen it out there. Even our fabled leader was lost to the harsh plane of Coldharbour.
We're all that made it back."
I rescued Vanus. He wants to speak to you all.
"What? You've got to be kidding. I saw him being torn away. There's no way they'd let him live. You must have him mixed up with someone… there just isn't any way."
I'm not. He'll be here shortly.
Reuniting with the Mages Guild

Go back into the main room after you finish talking to Nalia. She will run out after you to greet Vanus Galerion, along with the other Guild members.

Manis Dral: "Ah, my old friend! I thought we'd lost you."
Nalia: "What? It … it can't be!"
Vanus Galerion: "So good to see you all again, my friends! I'm glad we all made it here safely."
<Nalia runs up to Vanus.>
Nalia: "Vanny! You're alive! That's wonderful!"
Vanus Galerion: "Ah, dear Nalia! My heart fills with delight at the sight of you! Yes, I am safe."
Gabrielle Benele: "Where have you been, old friend? Trying to win the war all by yourself again?"
Vanus Galerion: "Well, yes, but I ran into a bit of trouble. Our friend here showed up and lent me a hand."
Nalia: "Well, then, you have our thanks. I'm not sure we could have gone on without … without Vanus …."
Vanus Galerion: "Cheer up, dear Nalia. I'm here now. But our mission isn't finished. We have to destroy the planar vortex and end the Planemeld."
Manis Dral: "Do you have a plan, old friend?"
Vanus Galerion: "I know what we need to do, I'm just not sure how we go about doing it. We need to discuss this with the Fighters Guild. We need a council of war."

He says he knows how to destroy the planar vortex and end the Planemeld. However, he needs to confer with the Fighters Guild—a council of war.

A Council of WarEdit

The Council of War

Once you have rescued the Mage and King, the Groundkeeper will want to talk with you. Meet with her outside the Chapel, when you talk to her, her dialogue will have a new reply option.

"Ah, look around you. See how the people brighten the streets with their very presence! It is good to have this place inhabited once again."
Why was I summoned?
"King Dynar and Vanus have begun to rally the troops. They have called for a council to meet here in the Hollow City.
There are decisions to be made. Plans to draw up. The time for war fast approaches, and we need to be ready."
Are there any others out there that need to be rescued?
If you haven't completed all of the optional quests If you've completed all of the optional quests
"I sense other lights trapped in the darkness. Their exact locations are hidden from me, but I can hear their desperate pleas for help.
You must choose. Will you seek out more allies, or will you allow the war council to begin?"
"If anyone who can help us remains in Coldharbour, I am not aware of their presence. If you wish to explore, however, you are free to do so."
Where are King Dynar and Vanus? (This option will advance the quest)
"You shall find the Ayleid King and the Mage inside the cathedral. They await your arrival.
Once you enter the cathedral, the preparations for the final assault to save Nirn will begin."

You may wish to find more allies before entering the cathedral, fully doing so will open up the city completely. Once you are ready, go inside and you will find that King Dynar and Vanus Galerion have assembled, along with your allies. To begin the council, you will need to talk with King Dynar.

"Welcome, friend. We need to discuss the preparations for the coming assault, but I wanted to wait until you arrived.
Do you have any questions before we begin?"
Do we really need to attack Molag Bal?
"We need to end the Planemeld before Nirn is destroyed. To do that, we must deal with the planar vortex. To reach the vortex, we need to cross the Chasm and get through whatever defenses the Dark Lord throws at us.
I fear battle is inevitable."
All right, let's start the council.
"Well said, friend! Please, hold your questions until everyone who wants to has had an opportunity to speak.
After that, we can debate the details as you see fit."'

The council will then begin in earnest.

King Laloriaran Dynar: "Attention, please! I have called you all here because the moment of destiny fast approaches."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "The Great Shackle has been destroyed, but not before a planar vortex was established. We must destroy this vortex before it sucks the very essence of Nirn into Coldharbour."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "The Fighters Guild shall deal with the Chasm's defenders, but blades have little power against magic."
Vanus Galerion: "And that's where my mages come in."
Vanus Galerion: "Out scouts report that some kind of magical fixtures block access to the path across the Chasm. Mages there already work on a way to overcome these fixtures, and we are prepared to lend our strength when the main force arrives."
Sergeant Kamu: "A sound plan. Plays to our unique strengths. But this one wonders, what if the mages can't overcome Molag Bal's magic?
Vanus Galerion: "A ridiculous question! Of course my mages can overcome this magic!"
Cadwell: "Ah, magic! The solution to all life's problems. I love magic! It's so … magical."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "I have absolute confidence in Vanus and his mages."
Gabrielle Benele: "Thank you, your lordship. But to be honest with you, I'm not feeling as confident as Vanus about this."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "We shall fight with all our strength. There is no other option. Lives will be lost, but hopefully a world will be saved."
King Laloriaran Dynar: "Know that the Chasm is only the first stage of this battle. The planar vortex abides within the very heart of the Molag Bal's lair."
Darien Gautier: "Oh, this just gets better and better!"
Gabrielle Benele: "Darien! Mind your tongue!"
King Laloriaran Dynar: "Darien only seeks to lighten a tense situation. Still, we have to try. To do nothing is to doom Tamriel to certain destruction."
Darien Gautier: "Well, when you put it that way, there are a lot of lovely ladies that need to be saved …."
Vanus Galerion: "Yes, well, be that as it may, we launch our assault on the Chasm immediately. The King needs to talk to the champion and I must discuss some final details with the mages. The rest of you have your own preparations to see to, I'm sure."

After discussions have been completed, everyone will file out, except for King Dynar who will have some final words for you.

"It is settled. We shall cross the Chasm and make our way to the planar vortex at the heart of Molag Bal's realm.
Now that you know the plan, I have a special request to make of you."
I'm listening.
"This mission needs a leader. I want you to lead the assault across the Chasm.
We have asked so much of you and you have already accomplished the impossible, but you are one of a very small few that I would trust with this task."

He will entrust you with leading the initial assault across the Chasm.

Side QuestsEdit

Bring Allies to the Hollow CityEdit

Allies assembled within the Chapel

In addition to the main Army of Meridia story quests, which count towards the objective Restore the Hollow City, completing the side quests in Coldharbour will generate invisible progress towards the objective Bring Allies to the Hollow City. Rescuing mages and fighters who are in battle with Daedra in the wilderness of Coldharbour also generates progress towards this objective. Once fifteen people have been recovered through side quests or rescued from the wilderness, the city will be considered "restored", and all of the shops and services will open. Note however that the guildhalls and certain houses will still require their related quests to be completed before they can be accessed; see The Hollow City: Restoring the City for more details.

Collect the Lights of MeridiaEdit

There are five Lights of Meridia hidden across Coldharbour for the objective Collect the Lights of Meridia. Only one of these is needed to rescue the Ayleid King, and this can be obtained from the quest chain Into the Woods. Collecting all of them will unlock the achievement Meridia's Lightbearer. The Groundskeeper has heard tales of where two of them could be found; one is rumored to be held in the northwest, within a tower that is not a tower, while another may be found in a vile laboratory to the southeast.

Related Objectives


  • After completing this quest, the northern gate to the Hollow City will unlock, opening the way to the Chasm and the northern Fist of Stone region beyond.
    • The only way to reach Fist of Stone other than completing this quest is to enlist the aid of another player who has already made the trip. You can group with them and have them travel to any wayshrine north of the city, then teleport to them from the Group menu. You may also do the same with anyone in your friends list or in any guild you are in.


  • Vanus Galerion already appears inside the guildhall, ahead of his proper introduction, if you enter before talking with him upon arriving from the Great Shackle. ?
  • Unlike everyone else at the council, Gabrielle Benele's pathing becomes broken when she gets up to leave. She becomes immobile near her chair, and after enough time, will use the door push animation then vanish. ?

Quest StagesEdit

The Army of Meridia
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
King Laloriaran Dynar is imprisoned to the west, beyond the Moonless Walk. Vanus Galerion is trapped somewhere to the east. I should also watch for any of the other missing Fighters Guild and Mages Guild members, or anyone else who can help me.
Optional Step: Restore the Hollow City
Objective: Rescue King Laloriaran Dynar
Hidden Objective: Find the Ayleid King
Hidden Objective: Complete the Moonless Walk to Find the Ayleid King
Hidden Objective: Free the King and Return to the Hollow City
Hidden Objective: Talk to King Laloriaran Dynar
Hidden Objective: Introduce King Dynar to the Fighters Guild
Objective: Rescue Vanus Galerion
Hidden Objective: Find Vanus Galerion
Hidden Objective: Rescue Vanus from the Black Forge
Hidden Objective: Break the Shackle and Return to the City
Hidden Objective: Talk to Vanus Galerion
Hidden Objective: Introduce Vanus Galerion
I rescued enough people to reassemble our army. I should find the Groundskeeper near the Hollow City chapel and discuss our next steps.
Hidden Objective: Collect the Lights of Meridia: 0/6
Hidden Objective: Bring Allies to the Hollow City: 0/15
Objective: Talk to the Groundskeeper outside the Chapel
King Dynar and Vanus have convened a council of war within the Chapel of Light. They're waiting for me to join them. I should head inside and figure out our plan of attack.
Objective: Enter the Chapel of Light
The council of war has begun. I should hear what everyone has to say.
Objective: Attend the Council of War
Finishes quest  We destroyed the Great Shackle, but the Planemeld continues. The council of war has decided to assault the Chasm and fight our way to the remaining planar vortex. Only then can we seal the connection and save Nirn from the Planemeld.
Objective: Talk to King Laloriaran Dynar
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.