Elder Scrolls

Black Books

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A mysterious Black Book.

"Where the Black Books actually came from... no one really knows. Some appear to have been written in the past, others might be from the future."

Black Books are tomes of esoteric knowledge found in The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn. They are Daedric Artifacts attributed to Hermaeus Mora.

There are seven different Black Books scattered through the ruins of Solstheim. Three are guarded by the Dragon Priests Ahzidal, Dukaan, and Zahkriisos.

Many of the books can be found through the repeatable quest "Lost Knowledge."


Black Books are esoteric tomes that are magical and otherworldly in nature. When read, they present the reader with exceptionally powerful knowledge that comes with incredible powers which mortals could never conceive. They are Daedric artifacts created by Hermaeus Mora to lure mortals into his service. Some appear to have been written in the ancient past, while others appear to be from the far future. They are much sought after as they contain hidden knowledge that grants the reader great power.

The Dragon Priest Miraak came into possession of one book that led him into the service of Hermaeus Mora. Eventually this resulted in him learning how to bend the will of Dov.[1] The Dwemer discovered another book in the First Era. Since the acquisition and usage of hidden knowledge was somewhat a specialty of the Dwemer, they began to study it to reveal its secrets.[2]


Opening a Black Book transports the reader into a region in the realm of Apocrypha. Once the region has been traversed, a book awaits on a pedestal. Reading the book grants a unique power or ability.

However, when opening a Black Book inside Apocrypha, the corresponding region of Apocrypha does not open. Instead the Dragonborn is transported back to Solstheim. This can be used to exit Apocrypha at any time without using (reaching) the hidden knowledge book typically set at the end of each Apocrypha scenario. This is especially important in the case of reading Waking Dreams without activating the final main quest "At the Summit of Apocrypha", because after reaching the Word Wall for Dragon Aspect, there is no visible exit in the form of an interactive item while the door behind the Dragonborn is locked.

Black Books can only be read while in Solstheim. Attempting to read a Black Book in Skyrim will result in the message: "A vision of Solstheim swims before your eyes and then is gone." When the message is acknowledged, the inventory closes and the surroundings shake briefly.

Hidden KnowledgeEdit

The area covered by each Black Book other than Waking Dreams ends with a fixed book (on a pedestal) containing three items of Hidden Knowledge. Each is represented by a green glowing sphere floating above the book. When activated, the corresponding power or active effect is granted. Only one from each area can be active at a time, but the Dragonborn can return at any time to activate a different effect. The edge of the book on the pedestal can be activated to return to Solstheim.


Book Location Reward
Black Book: Epistolary Acumen Found in Nchardak during the quest "The Path of Knowledge". Dragonborn Force
Dragonborn Flame
Dragonborn Frost
Black Book: Filament and Filigree Found in Kolbjorn Barrow during the quest "Unearthed". Secret of Arcana
Secret of Protection
Secret of Strength
Black Book: The Hidden Twilight Found in Tel Mithryn, next to the Staff Enchanter. Mora's Agony
Mora's Boon
Mora's Grasp
Black Book: The Sallow Regent Found in White Ridge Barrow Seeker of Might
Seeker of Shadows
Seeker of Sorcery
Black Book: The Winds of Change Found in Bloodskal Barrow, during the quest "The Final Descent". Companion's Insight
Lover's Insight
Scholar's Insight
Black Book: Untold Legends Found in Benkongerike, after the Word Wall. Bardic Knowledge
Black Market
Secret Servant
Black Book: Waking Dreams Found in the Temple of Miraak during the main questline. Skill tree reset in exchange for one dragon soul.


  • Some followers react to the Dragonborn reading a Black Book, making such comments as "I can't believe you do that on purpose," "Not again," "I wish you'd stop doing that," "What the?," or "That can't be good for you…."
  • While Neloth is a follower during the quest "The Path of Knowledge", he will remark, "Oh good. Be sure to say hello to Hermaeus Mora for me if you see him," when the Dragonborn reads the Black Book Epistolary Acumen.
  • Neloth can give the locations of Black Books in the quest "Lost Knowledge."
  • The books remain as quest items after "At the Summit of Apocrypha" and cannot be dropped.
  • A Black Book can be treated as a portable storage container while on Solstheim. Upon re-entering The Winds of Change the Dragonborn is close to a chest and the exit. It is helpful to dump the heavy loot there while exploring, then take it back when near a merchant/permanent storage.
  • The Sallow Regent is likely a reference to Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow.
  • The writing on the Eye of Magnus is very similar of that in the Black Books, although not the same.


This section contains bugs related to Black Books. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  360   PS3   Upon exiting Apocrypha, the sound of paper whirling in the wind will persist. Saving and reloading the game should fix this.
  •  360   PS3   Upon exiting Apocrypha from The Sallow Regent or The Hidden Twilight, the burning sound of the darkness will persist. Saving and reloading the game, or going back to Apocrypha and returning should fix this.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn falls into the water it results in death. When the game reloads the autosave, their health will continuously go down, even though in Solstheim. Loading a previous save is the only known fix.
  •  PS3   When you use the perks book to exit out of The Sallow Regent, your health bar continues to go down. On two accounts this was fixed by going back into the book, conjuring a sword, start fighting the lurker while taking damage from the black 'fuzziness' and then falling/jumping down. A message appears on top left of the screen saying 'you cannot fight'. When it autoloads you, your health bar is returned to normal.
  •  PC   If the Dragonborn is stomped on by a Lurker, they can be flung into the air similar to a Giant. When they respawn in Solstheim they can end up unresponsive, walking into the ground or laying on their side. Saving and reloading should fix this.
  •  PC   Upon entering or exiting Apocrypha, any spells, shouts, or powers equipped will be immediately unequipped.
  •  PC   The Dragonborn may be unable to leave Apocrypha by reading a Black Book. To return to Solstheim, the Dragonborn can "die" by going into the water.
  • Sometimes there are two copies of Untold Legends. Attempting to re-enter Apocrypha by reading Untold Legends may not happen, thus permanently locking the Dragonborn out of that part of Apocrypha. The only known fix is to reload a previous save.
  •  PS3   Entering and Exiting Apocrypha with Dragon Aspect active may cause the Dragonborn's facial hair to become invisible.
  •  PC   Sometimes reading a Black Book will cause the player to enter into a non-stopping load screen. Current "fixes" are to simply skip reading them until Bethesda releases a patch.
  • Dialogue asking Neloth if he's found anymore Black Books may still be available even after the Dragonborn has found all five. Neloth will point the Dragonborn towards a location that has already been cleared of the Black Book, thus rendering the quest impossible to complete.
  •  PC   Sneaking or dashing inside a moving tunnel causes Dragonborn to fall through the moving object abruptly and usually die due to the hazards below. (using Whirlwind Sprint can help you pass trough some of these tunnels without falling.)
  •  PC   360   Black Book: The Hidden Twilight may become a quest more than once by talking to a Madman, but this quest cannot be completed multiple times. (The Madman respawn may be triggered by certain mods.)
  • Occasionally, upon entering or exiting Apocrypha, the game will crash.
  •  360   PS3   When entering Apocrypha, it will freeze for 10 seconds then autosave.
  •  PS3   PC  Upon exiting Apocrypha, the sky in Solstheim may become filled with green swirl/aurora from the Apocrypha sky. Reloading the game will fix it.



  1. Dialogue with Hermaeus Mora
  2. Dialogue with Neloth

Start a Discussion Discussions about Black Books

  • Black Book quest glitch?

    4 messages
    • Thanks, I forgot to mention I'm on the 360 console. And the prior save I don't have. Plus, the madman has already tracked me down and initia...
    • I'm afraid theres no way to get rid of the quest once you got it on a console, you can still collect the rest of the books though just use ...
  • Black Books: Dragonborn DLC

    4 messages
    • Seen you commenting a lot on peoples posts, and I thank you for the useful information. Each book in my inventory does show a "1" weight unit ...
    • Quest items show weights but apparently don't have any (i guess so they don't overburden you when you pick them up at the end of a dungeon), bu...

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