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Shivering:Ghosts of Vitharn

< Shivering Isles: Quests
Set things right for the ghosts of a fallen castle.
Quest Giver: Count Cirion at Vitharn Keep
Location(s): Crucible, Bliss, Vitharn
Reward: Count Cirion's Helmet
ID: SE32
The Sealed Gate to Vitharn

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. (Optional) Hear rumors of the haunted settlement of Vitharn.
  2. Travel to Vitharn and discover the ghosts fighting one another.
  3. Find your way into the Vitharn Keep, and speak with Count Cirion's Ghost.
  4. Convince Desideratus Annius to hold his ground.
  5. Equip Althel with the arrows she needs to guard the gate.
  6. Restore Hloval Dreth's magicka so that he may combat the Fanatics.
  7. Speak to the Count again, and receive his helm.
  8. Return to the Bailey and defeat the final raid to prevent the gate opening.
  9. Speak to the Count one final time to lift the curse and receive your reward.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

Investigate the RuinsEdit

The fighting outside Vitharn

Asking around in New Sheoth will net you a few rumors about the ruins known as Vitharn. A map marker will be placed on your in-game map, due south of Fellmoor. Once you reach Vitharn, you will come across two groups of ghosts fighting each other. Blue tinted ghosts are defending the ruined fortress against their opponents, green tinted spirits that appear to be wearing Madness armor. Upon reaching the main door to Vitharn, you will see it is chained shut and surrounded by a ghostly aura; attempting to enter informs you that "The door is held shut by a supernatural force."

To the left of the door, underneath a large tree, is a root door leading to a set of tunnels underneath Vitharn. The first tunnel, Vitharn Sump, is fairly linear and you will encounter three respawning ghosts, the last one hiding underwater near the exit. The next set of tunnels, Vitharn Reservoir, is linear as well, but contains no ghosts. You will discover another chained door on your way, but just keep following the tunnels until you will reach an unchained entrance that leads to Vitharn Keep.

Learn of Vitharn's CurseEdit

Upon entering the keep, you will encounter Count Cirion of Vitharn. He accuses you of trespassing and demands that you explain yourself. Claiming a desire to "cleanse" Vitharn will anger the count, who will lock the door behind you and refuse to tell you what's going on, forcing you to work it out on your own. Instead, say that you meant no offense and he will go on to tell you that his people are in desperate need of help. Long ago, Fanatics invaded Vitharn and his soldiers failed to hold the gate. The city was overrun and its people slaughtered. As punishment for their incompetence, Sheogorath cursed the ghosts of the fallen to exist in a cycle of torment, re-living the mistakes they made during the invasion so long ago. The Count asks you to walk among his people, determine the mistakes they made, and correct them. This, he believes, will finally release them from their torment. He ends by explaining that no spirit, be they friend or Fanatic, will be able to harm you within the walls of Vitharn.

Unending FailureEdit

With your objective in mind, it's time to head to the Bailey and see the battle for yourself. On your way through Vitharn's Main Hall, you can speak with the settlement's residents to hear their thoughts on the siege. Opinions like "Could someone muffle the door? The sounds of combat are disturbing me.", "I'm not some commoner to take up a sword. Let the rabble risk their lives, not me." and "It is the role of lesser men to fight for those of noble blood." should give you an idea of the surprisingly carefree attitudes of the civilians. Once outside, you witness the engagement first hand and must now identify the individuals who failed in their duties. The Fanatics easily rout the defenders, and three ghostly soldiers in particular can be blamed for the ensuing slaughter:

The BetrothedEdit

Desideratus' "bethroted"

Upon entering the battlefield, you may notice a ghost by the name of Desideratus Annius who keeps running back inside Vitharn Keep. Talk to him and find out why: "My betrothed! I must save her!" or "Please! I must find my betrothed!" Speaking with the other defenders will reveal Desideratus' "betrothed" to be nothing more than a doll, which the soldier left the defensive line to protect. Head back inside and turn left, heading towards the Keep's barracks in the eastern hall. Head for the second of the two sleeping areas, and look for a tattered rag doll sitting on a shelf. This is Desideratus' coveted betrothed. Grab the doll and return to the Bailey. You can try uniting Desideratus with his beloved, but he will just run back inside and place it on the shelf again. Something more drastic is needed to ensure Desideratus remains at his post.

There are two options available. The most obvious is to find one of the fanatics and give him the doll, which will force Desideratus to "rescue" his betrothed. A crueler alternative is to burn the doll in one of the numerous braziers scattered throughout the city, removing Desideratus' reason for running. Once you have made your choice, speak to Desideratus and he will stay on the battlefield and do his duties.

Counting ArrowsEdit

Bat gro-Orkul with Althel's Arrows

Your next objective, located on a small platform near the Gate Wheel, is a female archer who is forced to re-experience her own death over and over. When you approach her, you will learn that her name is Althel, that she is manically obsessed with counting, which is why she failed to protect the Gate Wheel: "1, 2, 3. I need my arrows. 5, 7, 11. I can't get them. 13, 17, 19. If I leave, who will keep up the count? 23, 29, 31."

Speaking to the other defenders will reveal that Vitharn's over-protective armorer, Bat gro-Orkul, is responsible. Pay a quick visit to the Keep's northeastern wing, where you will find Bat behind his desk, selfishly hoarding all of the armory's equipment. Even though the ghostly arrows lie right next to him, he refuses to hand them over lest they be damaged or lost. You need to figure out how to take them without Bat's knowledge.

The only way into the armory is through a locked door in the back. You can either pick the lock or head over to the west wing, where you can find the armory key on a table, on the landing between two staircases. Open the door, sneak in and grab Althel's Arrows. If Bat detects you, he will kick you out of the armory and force you to start over. He will not, however, confiscate the armory key. Once you have managed to snatch the arrows, head outside and hand them to Althel. She will be overwhelmed with joy and will finally make her stand against the Fanatics.

The Stunted MageEdit

Hloval's Dagger of Depletion
Welkynd Stone in Vitharn's Mausoleum

The third and final spirit you must help is that of a mage, Hloval Dreth. You can find him next to Desideratus Annius, trying in vain to cast his spells. Unfortunately, when the first wave of Fanatics runs through the southern gate, he will quickly be slain. Once you talk to him, he will reveal he has a very special problem: "Power! I need power! Unless you can give me the magicka to help these soldiers, get out of my way." Speaking to the other defenders will reveal that Hloval is no ordinary mage: "Hloval dances a little too close to Sheogorath, if you know what I mean. Those born with stunted magicka shouldn't become priests and healers."

There are two methods available to you here, but the simplest involves finding a ghostly Welkynd Stone in the settlement's mausoleum. The ethereal stone can be found in the southern alcove of the crypt, on a ledge above the coffins. With the stone in his possession, Dreth will be able to restore his dwindling magicka and continue the fight against the Fanatics.

The second method is equally effective, but carries with it a negative consequence. In the Keep's chapel to the northeast of the main hall, the ghost of Anglor can be found silently praying in front of two citizens. In the northwestern corner of the chapel, a push button can be found. Once activated, part of the western wall will disappear, revealing Hloval's study. On some shelves, you will find the glowing dagger of depletion. Bring the dagger to Hloval who, unfortunately, will select you as a fine source for magicka. He will then proceed to stab you, transferring all your magicka to him. Once the deed is done, Dreth will finally make his stand and strike down one of the invading soldiers, defending Vitharn as he was supposed to.

Vitharn's Last StandEdit

The final battle
Devoted Ghost Fanatic

While it seems as though the soldiers are now properly prepared and motivated for the battle, the Fanatics still manage to overwhelm them. Something else must be done. Speak to Count Cirion to learn of the last mistake. After a short conversation, he'll say that he also failed his duty that day by running and hiding. He asks that you take his helm and thus take his place in the defense of the city. The helm is automatically equipped, and while you wear it you will also suffer the curse. You will be unable to leave the city until the battle is won, and you are no longer immune to the weapons of the Fanatics. Go back out into the bailey and position yourself on the raised platform where Althel stands, by the main gate wheel. During the next assault, a Devoted Ghost Fanatic equipped with a leveled, enchanted longsword will charge your position from the nearby gate to Vitharn's Reservoir. Your duty as Count Cirion's replacement is to meet this adversary in combat and defeat him, preventing the Fanatics from opening the main gate. Once the raiders are beaten and the battle is won, Vitharn's curse is finally lifted.

Once the deed is done, the Count will appear and thank you. He will let you keep his helmet, which replaces the cursed version in your inventory. All of the ghosts will vanish from Vitharn and the gates are finally unsealed.


  • The quest stages for Desideratus, Althel, and Hloval can be completed in any order, or even at the same time.
  • If you wish to explore the Mausoleum, do so before finishing the quest. When the supernaturally sealed doors become opened, the Mausoleum doors lock with an unpickable lock.
  • It is possible to disarm the fanatics and pick up their weapons, which are partly base normal madness weapons and shields, and partly iron weapons and leveled madness weapons and shields. When killed, the Devoted Ghost Fanatic drops a leveled enchanted Madness Longsword.
  • If you give Hloval Dreth the dagger, a unique ring called Ghostly Immobility is added to your inventory. This item weighs 1,000 pounds and prevents anybody not using Console cheats from moving. Once Dreth has sliced you once with the dagger, the ring is removed again. It seems designed to ensure that you cannot skip out of range before Dreth attacks.
  • You can pick up Athel's arrows and use them, they will stay in their ghost forms.
  • If you have completed the Main Quest, Cirion's first and final dialogue lines will differ slightly: "I am Count Cirion. What does the mighty Lord Sheogorath need here among the shades of Vitharn? Have you come to mock us?" and "You have lifted the curse. All of Vitharn thanks you, Lord Sheogorath. You may keep my helmet. It never did me much good."
  • Haskill can be asked about Vitharn, prompting him to briefly summarize its fall. This makes it the only sidequest that Haskill can offer any insight on.


  • If you burn Desideratus' doll, do not pick it up again on the next day. It will permanently remain in your inventory unless you use the console to remove its quest designation.
  • If the final battle does not initialize, all but one door (beside the fortified post of four guards) that leads to the keep can be lockpicked; you can go back out and replay the battle, and hopefully, the entire battle will play itself properly. ?
  • An error in the check on the brazier's script will allow Desideratus' doll to be burned before you have it or even know of it. This causes a near game-breaking glitch: the Fanatics' leader never shows up for the final battle, making it impossible for you to kill him. Since you are prevented from leaving Vitharn until the quest is completed.
    • Retrieve the doll. The quest will proceed but the NPC looking for the doll will somehow act abnormally (the third fanatic will be killed in the battle but Desideratus will not die and keeps striking with his fist).
    •   You can use the Console and type setstage SE32 160 to advance the quest. The count will exit and congratulate you, ending the quest. When you exit the keep, the Fanatics should attack in short order.
  • Another bug related to the burning of Desideratus' doll can result in receiving both possible quest-updates for it. While Desideratus will respond correctly, the quest will not recognize the death of the third fanatic, leaving the quest permanently stuck. The only way to fix this is to resort to a previous save and give the doll to the fanatic instead, or to use setstage to advance the quest.
  • If you use the Ring Of Disrobing while wearing Count Cirion's Helmet (the cursed version), it will cause the game to crash immediately.
  • Wearing any enchanted headgear when Count Cirion's Helmet is applied to you will cause the Permanent Effects glitch.

Journal EntriesEdit

Ghosts of Vitharn (SE32)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
1 I have eliminated one of the four Fanatic raiders that came in from the dungeons. Only three to go.
2 I have eliminated two of the four Fanatic raiders that came in from the dungeons. Only two more to go.
10 I heard a rumor about the fortress of Vitharn in the far south of the Shivering Isles. Someday I should investigate it.
11 There are ghostly warriors fighting in this place. Their battle cries lead me to believe this place is named Vitharn. Something strange is going on here. I can see the fortress keep, but there is no obvious entrance. I'll have to search around for a hidden way in. Even then, I'm not sure what I'll find.
20 I met a ghost named Count Cirion in the haunted keep of Vitharn. Unfortunately, I insulted him before he could tell me his tale. Now I'm locked into the keep. There must be a way out. Maybe I can talk to the other ghosts. (If the player uses the "I came to cleanse this place" response) or
The ghost of Count Cirion has told me a tale of tragedy. The people of Vitharn were overrun by invaders centuries ago. Four defenders in the bailey failed in their duties. Now cursed to relive the last moments of the invasion over and over. Count Cirion has begged me to put the shades of his people to rest. I have no idea how to do this. Maybe the ghosts themselves can tell me. (If the player tells Cirion "I meant no offense.")
25 Desideratus took his "beloved" and ran off. Obviously that isn't going to work. Hopefully he just put the doll back where I found it. I should go check. There must be some other way to use that doll to get him to stay and fight.
30 The ghost of Desideratus Annius told me he must get back home to protect his betrothed. Tragically, by leaving his post, they both perished. There must be something I can do to get him to stand fast.
40 It seems that Desideratus [sic] "betrothed" is actually a child's doll. I'll have to think of some way to keep him from obessing [sic] about the doll.
45 I have Desideratus doll, his "betrothed." There must be a way to use it to convince Desideratus to stay at his post. (If The player has previously talked to Desideratus about his betrothed) or
This ghostly doll is very odd. I have a feeling I should keep it with me for a while. (If the player hasn't talked to Desideratus yet)
50 I've burned the doll in the ghostly flames. Desideratus has no reason to find his betrothed now, because she is no more. I should go tell him. (If The player has previously talked to Desideratus about his betrothed) or
I've burned the doll in the ghostly flames. I don't know why I was able to do that, but there must have been some purpose. (If the player hasn't talked to Desideratus yet)
55 I placed the "betrothed" doll on one of the invaders. Desideratus will have to fight them to rescue his "betrothed" now. I should go tell him. (If The player has previously talked to Desideratus about his betrothed) or
Somehow one of the ghostly invaders accepted the doll from me. I don't know why, but there must be some purpose to it. (If the player hasn't talked to Desideratus yet)
60 Desideratus did not take it well when I told him what I did to his betrothed. However, he is now motivated to stay at his post and fight the invading Fanatics.
70 Althel the archer on the parapet has no arrows. She won't accept normal arrows. I'll have to find her arrows somewhere. She is perfectly positioned to fire into the Fanatic raiders.
80 Bat gro-Orkul is the warden of the armory. He refuses to give anything out. No wonder this place couldn't defend itself! I need to find a way to get those arrows for Althel.
90 I've got the arrows. Now to get them to Althel. (If the player has talked to Althel and discovered her lack of arrows) or
These ghostly arrows are quite strange. I am unable to nock them though. (If the player has not yet talked to Althel)
95 Althel was grateful for the arrows. She is sure to bring down some of the invaders with them.
100 The priest, Hloval Dreth, doesn't have nearly enough magicka to support the soldiers defending the gates. I need to find something that will boost his magicka. He won't take my earthly items, so it will have to be something in his spirit realm.
110 I found a ghostly Dagger of Depletion in Hloval Dreth's rooms. It should let him recharge his magicka. I wonder who or what he'll use it on? (If the player has talked to Hloval Dreth about his lack of magicka) or
I found a ghostly Dagger of Depletion. For some reason I am unable to wield it though. (If the player hasn't yet talked to Hloval Dreth)
120 I found some ghostly welkynd stones. I might be able to use them to help Hloval Dreth. (If the player has talked to Hloval Dreth about his lack of magicka) or
I found some ghostly welkynd stones. I can't seem to use them myself. (If the player hasn't yet talked to Hloval Dreth)
130 Hloval Dreth was grateful for the help. He is able to attack the Fanatic raiders now.
140 I have changed the actions of three of the defenders. Yet one of the Fanatics still gets past the defenders. There is nothing more I can do here. Maybe Count Cirion can help me.
150 Count Cirion has given me his helm. With it, I can take his place and do battle with Devoted Fanatic. Only then will the curse be lifted.
160 I have defeated the Devoted Fanatic. The curse of Vitharn has been lifted.
190 (Time to run the idles)
200 Finishes quest  The ghosts of Vitharn have been laid to rest.
  • 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 random order.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  •   It is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage SE32 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages. See SetStage for more information.