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Death Incarnate

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Death Incarnate is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After what was supposed to be the Dark Brotherhood's greatest contract in centuries, the Dragonborn learns that it was all a setup so that Commander Maro could attack the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. As Listener, the Dragonborn must rescue any surviving members and ensure that the Brotherhood lives on.

This quest begins once the quest "To Kill an Empire" has been completed.


Entrance to SanctuaryEdit

Commander Maro’s men have located the Sanctuary and are currently raiding it. When the Dragonborn arrives, several Penitus Oculatus Agents will be encountered at the entrance. Festus can be found dead, pinned to a tree by a barrage of arrows outside the door. Kill the agents and enter the Black Door.

Sanctuary AssaultEdit

Inside the Sanctuary, explosions can be heard from deeper within. Where Astrid would normally be located, there are two Penitus Oculatus Agents. Eavesdropping on their conversation reveals that the Sanctuary is being set alight and an agent named Arcturus has led some other men deeper into the Sanctuary. The Dragonborn should kill the agents and move on. Fire magic works well in this area due to the large amounts of oil on the ground. The body of Veezara can be found on the ground here.

After proceeding deeper into the Sanctuary, the death of Arnbjorn will be witnessed; he attacks a group of agents in Beast Form before being slain. His death is scripted, so nothing can be done to save him. When proceeding forward, the dead bodies of Gabriella and Lis will be found. Also, in Lis' pit, engulfed by the flames will be the body of Gaston Bellefort in which there is the Hastily Scribbled Note. In the dining hall, Nazir will be seen battling several agents, along with their leader, Arcturus. After defeating Arcturus and any other agents nearby, the Dragonborn should talk to Nazir and follow him, killing any more agents that are encountered.

Embrace the Night MotherEdit

Nazir will run into the Night Mother's room, only to discover that it's a dead end. The Night Mother communicates to the Dragonborn, telling them to embrace her, as it is the only way to survive. Open her sarcophagus and step inside. The screen will go black, and she will tell the Dragonborn to sleep. Nazir and Babette will free the Dragonborn some time later, after the fires have died. Just before the coffin doors open, the Night Mother will tell the Dragonborn to speak to Astrid, somewhere inside the Sanctuary.

The Dread Lord BeckonsEdit

Outside the coffin, head out of the grotto and up the stone stairs to Astrid's usual location. Continue into the room on the right, and into a new room beyond that. Astrid is there, burned beyond recognition, lying in the center of a ring of candles in the configuration of the Black Sacrament.

She explains that she betrayed the Dragonborn to the Penitus Oculatus in return for their promise to spare the Dark Brotherhood. She says that her action was unforgivable and that Sithis will judge her accordingly. She asks the Dragonborn to rebuild the Dark Brotherhood, and gives the Dragonborn her Blade of Woe and demands that she be killed, as she has enacted the Black Sacrament on herself.

After Astrid is killed, the quest log indicates that the Dragonborn should return to the Night Mother. She says that the contract to assassinate the true Emperor, Titus Mede II, must still be carried out. She commands the Dragonborn to speak to Amaund Motierre in Whiterun, as he will know the true Emperor's real location. This completes the quest and begins the next quest, "Hail Sithis!".


Journal Entry

I have returned to the Sanctuary in the midst of the Penitus Oculatus' assault. I must asist my fellow Family members any way I can.

  • Objective: Enter the Sanctuary
  • Objective: Search for survivors
  • Objective: Kill Nazir's attacker!
  • Objective: Speak with Nazir
  • Objective: Escape the Sanctuary
  • Objective: Embrace the Night Mother
  • Objective: Talk to Astrid
  • Objective: Kill Astrid
  • Objective: (Optional) Retrieve the Blade of Woe
  • Objective: Return to the Night Mother

Not only have the Penitius Oculatus killed most of the Family members and burned the Sanctuary, Astrid also revealed herself to be the one who betrayed me. But there is still hope - the Emperor is still in Skyrim, and I have a chance to fulfill my contract with Amaund Motierre.

  • Quest complete


  • Astrid cannot be killed with attacks to her head, as they will not connect. Attacks to any other area of the body will work.
  • Items placed in chests or cupboards near the beds will be lost when this quest begins.
  • Arnbjorn's body cannot be resurrected.
  • Using Dead Thrall, it is possible to reanimate Astrid.
  • In all versions of the game, attempting the spell Healing Hands upon Astrid will sometimes kill her.
  • If the player reanimates Astrid, when she dies, she says "Thank you" again as if the player was killing her in that sanctuary during the quest.
  • Most of the Sanctuary becomes inaccessable after this quest.


This section contains bugs related to Death Incarnate. 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.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Death Incarnate

  • Maybe the saddest quest in the game?

    95 messages
    • Leea wrote: wrote: For me the saddest quest was death incarnate. SPOILER ALERT  i felt dissapointed, sad and sort of hurt t...
    • After I joined the Dark Brotherhood, I did not do their quests because I did not want to kill innocent people and I had more money than I co...
  • Possible Astrid Glitch?

    7 messages
    • that shouldnt happen ive killed astrid many times and tried t pickepock her but no that dont happen
    • Runafairshiledbemykid wrote: that shouldnt happen ive killed astrid many times and tried t pickepock her but no that dont happen It can happ...

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