The Only Cure

skyrim kesh the cleanIn Brief

  1. Meet with an Afflicted Refugee.
  2. Travel to the Shrine to Peryite.
  3. Gather four items for Kesh the Clean.
  4. Inhale the fumes and speak to Peryite.
  5. Make your way through Bthardamz and kill Orchendor in Peryite’s name.
  6. Return for your reward.


Once you have reached level 10, traveling around Skyrim may net you a random encounter with a sickly looking Afflicted Refugee, who asks you to stop “ogling the grotesque”. Seemingly ill and tired of fighting, he will gladly stop to talk. When asked about his worrying skin condition, he will say he suffers from the plague and would have been dead years ago without Peryite’s protection. Eager to get back to High Rock, he will point you to Kesh at the Shrine to Peryite for more information, adding an objective to your journal. The shrine is located in The Reach, far to the northeast of Markarth, a little southwest of the Dragontooth Crater landmark.

Alternatively, once you reach level 12, you can just head directly to the Shrine and seek out Kesh. He will then start the quest.

The shrine is relatively humble; it contains little beyond a table holding the Speech skill book The Buying Game, a cooking pot, an Alchemy Lab, and an odd-looking golden cauldron. The only remaining worshipper of Peryite, the Khajiit Kesh the Clean wanders around the shrine, occasionally using its facilities. When you approach him, he will be quite surprised to see another person at the remote shrine, “Ah, a wanderer, yes? No? Pilgrim, perhaps? Have you come to commune with Peryite, Taskmaster and blighted Lord?” He will then describe Peryite, “He is the pus in the wound. Oh, proper ones curl their noses, but it’s pus that drinks foul humors and restores the blood. I worship Peryite, yes, because sometimes the world can only be cleansed by disease.” When you ask for an audience with Peryite, Kesh will say incense is needed. Creating that incense involves mixing four items in the cauldron, which you will need to track down.

Specifically, Kesh needs one of each of the following: Vampire Dust, a Silver Ingot, a Flawless Ruby and a Deathbell flower. While Kesh will recommend shops for the dust, mines for the silver and ruby and the frozen tundra for the flower, he will specifically warn you about obtaining vampire dust, as obtaining it from Vampires can be very dangerous.

Note that if you already have some of the items in your inventory, you will have to drop them and pick them back up for the quest update to appear.

  • Flawless Ruby: Arguably the hardest item to find without depending on random occurrences during Mining. A fixed Flawless Ruby can be picked up from Shriekwind Bastion. Halfway through the dungeon, a single throne can be found in a blood-spattered room. Examine the floor near the unlit fire pit on the right for the ruby. The dungeon is inhabited by Vampires so you may as well obtain the Vampire Dust while you are there.
  • Vampire Dust: If you intend to get the ruby from Shriekwind Bastion, get it there. Otherwise, any vampire dungeon will do.
  • Silver Ingot: About this, Kesh will be correct. Head east down the mountain from the shrine and locate the mining town of Karthwasten. Just outside the entrance to Fenn’s Gulch Mine is a smelter with several silver ingots scattered around.
  • Deathbell Flower: Deathbell can be found all over Skyrim, either as plants or harvested. The biggest concentration can be found in the Forelhost Refectory. The flower or samples of it can be picked or stolen in and around Solitude, where they appear in abundance, including in the main trading room of Angeline’s Aromatics and the teachers’ rooms in the Bards College. Many samples can also be harvested in the depths of Forsaken Crypt and found everywhere in the swampy marshes north of Morthal.

Once you have collected one sample of each, a quest update will inform you to return to Kesh at the shrine. When you hand him the samples, he will head to the cauldron and prepare the fumes. He will then ask you to inhale deeply for Peryite to appear.

As soon as you inhale the fumes, a quick flash will make the world around you appear surreal with misty colors and increased saturation, and a few ghostly skeevers will appear. Peryite will then speak, “Breathe deep, mortal. I would have you hear me well, so let these vapors fill your lungs.” Asking Peryite if you were poisoned will elicit, “In a sense, but no more poisoned than a fool after too much wine.” When asked what he wants he will explain, “I have watched you for some time, you know. The decisions you’ve made intrigues me, and I wonder if you are a proper agent for a task of mine. I sent a blessing to Mundus, a wasting plague that infected a scattering of Breton villages. One of my monks, the elf Orchendor, was sent to gather these Afflicted. He shepherded them into Bthardamz for me, but has since lost his way. I will not stand for betrayal. I want you to go to Bthardamz and Kill Orchendor, in my name.” He will then disappear and the cauldron will be deactivated. Back in the real world, both Kesh and your map marker will point you to the Dwemer ruin of Bthardamz, easily reached by foot from the shrine. As the ruin is incredibly big, it is recommended you stock up on supplies before the lengthy trek through the many zones.

The exterior area of Bthardamz is as huge as the ruin itself. Watch out for patrolling Afflicted and their poisonous vomit attacks. Locate the entrance, pull the handle to release the iron bars and head inside the introductory room for a bit of treasure. Finally, take a deep breath and enter the ruin itself, Bthardamz Upper District.

Upon entering, notice the many cauldrons with green fumes similar to the one back at the shrine. However, these pose no threat. The Afflicted, on the other hand, will attack you on sight and will do so throughout the entire ruin. Even though the pox makes them easy targets, they are dangerous in groups. At the first intersection, either pick the lock on the gate to the north, or take the long way through a sleeping area and fight the opposition. Remember to unlock the cage in the northeastern room for a chest. Keep heading west until you reach a large chamber with four Afflicted. Release them from their pain and pull the handle on the northern ledge. The bars blocking your progress to the south will lower and provide access to a cave-like structure with a treasure chest hidden underneath the entrance. At the next intersection, consider examining the room to the east, but beware of a surprise attack from two Dwarven Spheres. Take the southern path and avoid the pressure plate activating the two swinging blade traps. The last room contains three Afflicted enemies and the entrance to the next zone, Bthardamz Workshop.

The workshop contains four entrances back to the first zone, Bthardamz Upper District. You will arrive from the eastern entrance, and will have no choice but to go for the two southern entrances. Both southern entrances are accessible from the huge southwestern chamber, which is guarded by three Dwarven Spider Workers. The door at the top of the stairs leads to a previously inaccessible area of the Upper District (you will be able to see the door you previously used from above), while the southernmost door (where the map marker leads you) takes you to the ground floor area of the previously inaccessible Upper District. Take a bit of time and explore the area and the rooftops, although only a limited amount of treasure can be found. While it’s optional, you should locate the entrance to Bthardamz Dwelling and fight a few Afflicted enemies, then unlock the gate for a chest and the Speech skill book Biography of the Wolf Queen, before continuing on to the Upper District. Locate the set of stairs just northeast of the Dwelling entrance and proceed upwards, all the way to the ceiling, then enter Bthardamz Lower District.

Proceed forward to the first room and examine the cage for some minor loot. Fight two Dwarven Spiders in the corridor and enter a huge arena-like chamber with three Afflicted guards. Pull the lever and use the trap in the center of the room to your advantage, then take out any remaining enemies. Proceed east through another tunnel until you arrive in a multi-level chamber, complete with numerous platforms and a small underground lake. The objective here is once again to climb all the way to the ceiling, where the entrance to the final zone can be found. Start by exploring the ground floor area, and kill the enemies one-by-one if possible, otherwise they can easily group up on you. Locate the handle near the trap the northeastern passage, then head up the stairs. It soon becomes clear that you will need to take a detour to advance further, so locate the door to Bthardamz Study and enter.

The Study is more straightforward, so make your way through the rooms and loot a few treasure chests on your way. When it is time to climb the slope to the level above, beware of the swinging blade traps and the hostile Dwarven Sphere on the other side. Keep moving and eventually you will reach the door back to the Lower District.

You are now on the second level of the Lower District, so be careful not to fall down. You will be presented with multiple options, and the first two options pop up at the first intersection. Take a right and open the gate for a bit of loot, then head west and fight up to four Afflicted enemies. Next up are two bridges leading up to a ledge with three Afflicted enemies. They are bound to detect you, so dispose of them and continue down the path heading south. Eventually, you will land in a tunnel without any enemies and will be able to enter Bthardamz Arcanes, the lair of your target, Orchendor.

The Arcanex zone resemble the previous zone with its multi-leveled decor, and is virtually crawling with enemies, including Dwarven Spiders, Spheres and Afflicted. The water holds nothing of interest, so fight your way through the chamber and take the steep slope upstairs. Before entering the building-like structure below the ceiling, take a quick detour to the right for a bit of treasure, then face a Dwarven Centurion and a few Spiders, the last guardians before the final showdown against the treacherous High Elf.

Orchendor is a powerful Spellsword and knows several protective spells and magical barriers increasing his magic defense as high as 80%, making him a hard opponent for mages. He also knows additional Invisibility, Teleportation, and Ice Storm spells and as an Afflicted he can use the toxic vomit attack as well. Make sure to loot his body once it is over; he carries the elevator key, a boss-leveled amount of gold, the Alteration skill book Reality & Other Falsehoods and several other valuable items. Head to the upper level and locate the locked door, then enter for an elevator ride towards some much-needed fresh air. It’s time to head back to Peryite for your reward.

Back at the shrine, Kesh continues to wander around aimlessly. Speak with him for permission to take another breath of the fumes. When you do so, you will once again enter the surreal world of Peryite, who will say, “Well done, mortal. All things are in their order, and Orchendor roams the Pits. His betrayal will be punished, and your obedience is rewarded.” When you bid him farewell, he will hand you the Spellbreaker, a unique shield capable of protecting from both magic and sword. The cauldron will then be empty and you can do nothing but leave Kesh the Clean to his lonely existence at the Shrine to Peryite.