Waking Nightmare

In Brief

  • Learn of the nightmares the people of Dawnstar are experiencing, and speak to Erandur about them.
  • Follow Erandur to the Nightcaller Temple.
  • Fight your way with Erandur to the library, and then find the book The Dreamstride.
  • Locate and drink Vaermina’s Torpor in the laboratory.
  • In the Dreamwalk, find and activate the chain that will release the Miasma.
  • Take the soulgem to stop the force field.
  • Make your way to the sanctum and kill Veren and Thorek.
  • If you decide to kill Erandur you will receive the Skull of Corruption; if not, then he will travel with you as a companion.


Upon entering Dawnstar, you hear talk of the inhabitants suffering from terrible nightmares and lack of sleep. Even the Jarl himself is having trouble sleeping, and tension is high. Make your way to the Windpeak Inn, where you will find Erandur, a priest of Mara. He warns that the inhabitants of Dawnstar are in terrible danger, as the nightmares are a symptom of having their memories stolen by the Daedric Lord Vaermina. He explains that the nightmares are being caused by an event that happened in Nightcaller Temple, a ruin located on the clifftop overlooking Dawnstar. Erandur will prompt you to follow him to Nightcaller Temple to put an end to the nightmares.

Make your way with Erandur to the Temple, and speak to him once more outside the door, and he will explain why the nightmares are occuring. Many years ago, a group of Orcish Invaders attacked the temple, which had been a shrine to Mara before being overrun with Vaermina’s priests. To defend themselves, the priests released a gas called the Miasma, which the priests used to elongate their lives. The concentration of Miasma put both the Orc invaders and the priests into a sleep that lasted for years. After speaking to him, head inside the Temple.

The Temple inside is ruined, though a working Shrine of Mara is on the left side wall, on the bottom shelf of the podium in the middle of the first room there is a book Lost Legends which activates the quest Forbidden Legend (You can also activate the quest in Whiterun and Dragonsreach). Two Skeevers will be around in the hall near the back, and a lectern on the raised area contains books; a Novice level chest is on the right side of the large carving on the back wall. Once the room is cleared, Erandur will unlock the carving with a spell, and the wall will turn purple and reveal a doorway. Make your way through the opening and follow Erandur to the balcony overlooking the tower’s inner sanctum.

The inner sanctum contains the Skull of Corruption, one of Vaermina’s artifacts, and Erandur says how the Skull has gained the ability to reach out to people without being wielded, and is stealing memories. The Skull must be destroyed in order for the nightmares to stop. Follow him down the stairs, where you will meet two Orcish Invaders at the bottom. After confronting them, you will see that the way ahead is blocked by a forcefield. Erandur explains that there is a way of opening it, but he would have to search for the answer in an Alchemy book located in the locked Library upstairs. Luckily, he has a key – a leftover from when he himself was a Priest of Vaermina. When the Orcs attacked, he had fled, leaving his companions to die, and in his shame turned to following Mara.

Follow Erandur back up the stairs and allow him to unlock the door to the Library. The inhabitants – Orcish Invaders and Vaermina Devotees will awaken and attack. The Vaermina Devotees fight with lightning as well as conventional weapons, so a Resist Shock potion would be useful here. The Library is split on two levels – the bookcases on the lower level make it quite a tight squeeze but provide useful cover from incoming spells. After all the enemies are defeated, Erandur will state he is looking for a particular book called The Dreamstride. This contains the information needed to breach the inner sactum. The majority of the books in the Library are burnt, but a few remain intact. The Dreamstride is located on the upper level in the south-east corner of the room, on a lectern. Take it back to Erandur, who will decipher the book and state that a recipe is required, called Vaermina’s Torpor, which allows the taker to use dreams to travel great distances across the world. As a Priest of Mara, he is unable to use the potion, but says that you will be able to as only the unaffiliated or the followers of Vaermina can use it. In order to make the potion, you must go to the laboratory, which adjoins the Library.

Follow Erandur to the laboratory, where you will encounter another Orcish Invader and a Vaermina Devotee. There are also some alchemical ingredients dotted around, including Garlic and Chaurus Eggs. Continue down the corridor, and fight off another more Vaermina Devotees and Orcish Invaders. you may find it easier to hide in the doorway and tackle the enemies one at a time – Erandur is quite capable of dealing with them. After they are defeated you can then look for the Torpor – a long, tall red bottle, located on the lower level in a bookcase against the balcony part of the room. Numerous other alchemical ingredients and potions line the shelves, and on the top level near to where Erandur is waiting, there is a skill books on Alchemy; Mannimarco, King of Worms, on a half-buried bookshelf. Speak to Erandur, and he will command you to drink the potion.

Upon taking the potion, you are transported to a brighter version of the inner sanctum in the tower, where two of Vaermina’s Devotees are talking. There is a clattering noise in the background, and everything is quite hazy, but you can discern from what they are saying that it is from the time the Orcs invaded. You take on the body and memories of a Brother Casimir, and are tasked with releasing the Miasma. There is no access to your Inventory or Map while in the Dreamwalk, and you cannot pick up items or fight; you will not get attacked, though. Head down the corridor and into the dining hall, and make a left into the bedchamber. Head up the stairs and down the passage on the right, and keep going onwards until you get to the upper level overlooking the sanctum. On the outer wall of the corridor, find a chain with a large ring-shaped pull and activate it – this will release the Miasma. After a brief scene you will be transported back to the real world.

Take the soul gem where the forcefield is emanating from to stop the barrier, and talk to Erandur. He will say how you disappeared and reappeared on the other side of the barrier, and explains that the barrier is now shut and the Skull of Corruption can now be accessed. Head down to the Skull, taking care of any stray Orcs or Vaermina Devotees, until you reach a cutscene. Two Vaermina Devotees, Veren and Thorek (the ones you saw at the start of the Dreamwalk), emerge from the Skull’s shrine and approach Erandur. It apppears that as a Vaermina Devotee, Erandur was in fact Brother Casimir, the body you inherited during the Dreamwalk. They approach him, and after arguing about destroying the Skull they attack you and Erandur. Defeat them, then find Erandur and talk to him. He will take down the barrier, but as he does so, a woman’s voice will speak to you:

“He’s deceiving you. Once the barrier is down the Skull will be released, and he will turn on you. Kill him. Kill him now! Kill him and claim the Skull for yourself. Vaermina commands you!”

There are two options to follow:

  • Listen to the voice and kill Erandur before he takes the Skull
  • Ignore the voice and allow him to carry on

Following the first option allows you to possess the Skull of Corruption (without this you cannot get the Oblivion Walker Trophy). Following the second option and allowing him to destroy the Skull means he will travel with you as a companion should you want his assistance.

After following your choice, the quest will end, and you are free to return to Skyrim. Whichever option you choose, the nightmares will be lifted from Dawnstar.