This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry, meaning it relies heavily on colloquialisms and unprofessional verbiage. The perspective may be written from a first- or second- person point of view, when third person indirect is required. See the style sheet and the writing guideline for suggestions.
Talk to Uraccen to learn that Madanach is in a private cell which is being guarded by Borkul the Beast. Borkul will demand a shiv as toll. A shiv can be obtained from Grisvar the Unlucky, who is located in the south tunnel. He will demand a bottle of skooma. This can be obtained from Duach or Braig, through pickpocketing, persuasion, or a brawl. Return the Skooma to Grisvar in exchange for a shiv, and give the shiv to Borkul to obtain the key to Madonach's cell.
Alternatively, Borkul can be persuaded, given the skooma directly, or defeated in a brawl.
Attacking Borkul outside of the brawl will cause all the prisoners to attack, unless one is a strong mage character, a werewolf, or a vampire lord, this is not recommended. If a prisoner is attacked, Madanach will attack on sight as well.
Madanach will try and convince the Dragonborn that he and his Forsworn are justified in their actions and sends the player to seek out the prisoner Braig and hear his story. After listening to Braig, return to Madanach and he will offer freedom, but he requires proof of loyalty. He requests the assassination of Grisvar the Unlucky, who has outlived his usefulness to the Forsworn Rebellion. After killing Grisvar, the Dragonborn must return to Madanach.
Upon hearing news of the Grisvar's death, Madanach gathers the remaining prisoners and leads them to an escape tunnel that runs through the Markarth Ruins. At the end of the tunnel, the Dragonborn's belongings are returned to them by Kaie, and Madanach rewards the player with Armor of the Old Gods. Once outside, there is a confrontation between Thonar and Madanach. The Forsworn and Madanach charge the city, killing Thonar and all guards (and citizens) in sight. After they leave the city, they will continue running to Druadach Redoubt which will have several friendly Forsworn inside.
Kill Madanach with a pickaxe in his cell while in sneak so as not to be detected by the other guards and cell members, read the note on his body and use his escape route. It is advised to simply run past the Frostbite Spiders and Dwarven Spheres in the Markarth Ruins or if one has the ability to become a werewolf, it is rather easy to get past the dwarven spheres and the frostbite spiders by fighting them or sprinting past them. Upon exiting, Thonar Silver-Blood will reward the Dragonborn with Silver-Blood Family Ring and your belongings. The ring is enchanted so that weapons and armor can be improved 15% better.
Side with Madanach up until the Dragonborn is given the Armor of the Old Gods, which is at the end of the Markarth Ruins right before exiting to the city. After the dialogue and receiving the armor, attack Madanach, turning him hostile. Doing this while close to the door to Markarth will cause his followers to re-enter and attack the Dragonborn. After the player kills Madanach and his followers, loot his body and read his note. Then exit out to Markarth and speak to Thonar. It is recommended that the player attacks Madanach close to the door to Markarth because if not, his followers may not re-enter and it can be difficult to get the Silver-Blood Family Ring from Thonar as Madanach's followers will be waiting outside to attack.
If done correctly, after killing Madanach and the rest of his Forsworn followers inside the Markarth Ruins, the player will exit out to a peaceful Markarth with Thonar waiting to speak with the Dragonborn and reward him/her with the Silver-Blood Family Ring and a pardon from the Jarl. If the player speaks to Jarl Igmund afterwards, he will apologize for the wrongful imprisonment.If upon exiting the tunnel there are Forsworn left, it helps to reenter the tunnel so that you do not accidentally hit Thonar.
If the player is a skilled assassin, they can break out with the other Forsworn, and stall Madanach before he exits to Markarth. Once alone with him, you can cut his throat and search his body. Madanach will be dead, but the player won't be blamed for the kill. When you exit to the city, both the Guards and Forsworn will be peaceful towards you, although they will still fight each other - the player can assist either side, as both are friendly and will treat any attacks as accidental. Thonar will almost certainly be killed in the fighting before he can give you the ring, but this route still leaves the player with the Armour of the Old Gods, an official pardon from the Jarl, a friendly Druadach Redoubt, and another dead Silver-Blood, making it extremely satisfying. It may take several attempts to pull off properly, however.
Another way is to stall Madanach and pickpocket him. He turns aggressive and can be killed. A guard will run in but will not attack.
Another way, is cheating a bit, but it will reward both the ring and the armor. Pickpocket the key from Borkul, and go see Madanach. After talking with him, take the wooden pate on his table, place it against the bars on the locked cell, and run through it. Follow the tunnel into Markarth Ruins, and follow to the end. Madanach will show near the end. Talk with him to receive the armor and your belongings, then attack and kill him. His followers will then appear, kill them also. Then exit to a peaceful Markarth and talk to Thonar. He will then give you a pardon, and his ring.
If the player kills Madanach after receiving the Armor of the Old Gods and their belongings, but before leaving the Markarth Ruins, Thonar will greet him outside with the Silver-Blood Family Ring and the quest will be completed.
Once you have completed the quest, bear in mind that the body of Eltrys is still in the Shrine of Talos and can be looted for several hundred septims.
Ironically, Cidhna Mine is escaped through a large, extremely visible hole in the wall that leads straight to Markarth. The Markarth guard, however, seem to be fairly aware of it, since you come out right into the hands of the owner of the mine himself, accompanied by guards, who were waiting for you.
If the player killed Madanach and is going through Markarth Ruins solo, a good way to beat the spiders and Dwarven machines is to run past the spiders until reaching the last room, where the Dwarven Spheres attack, then lead them back to the spiders to have them fight each other.
With a high Pickpocket skill, one can reverse-pickpocket Urzoga gra-Shugurz beforehand and smuggle equipment into the mine though you must be in reach to pickpocket her through the bars as the door instantly shuts as she begins walking.
Also, it's possible to shove Urzoga into the mine with you though for no apparent reason, whether to pickpocket her equipment or to simply kill her with the prisoners' help.
If you choose to kill Madanach, and you are a Nord, he will say "Come at me son of Skyrim!"
If you wish to complete the quest but avoid directly killing Grisvar, you can choose the 'Madanach says hello' dialogue option and wait. Grisvar will panic and start attacking, and the other prisoners attack and kill him.
If you choose to not side with any prisoner, you might have a hard time killing them all with just a pickaxe. But there is a trick to it. If you walk up on the hanging bridge and wait for them to stand directly in front of you, you can use the Unrelenting ForceDragon Shout. The prisoners will then fall off into the pit directly behind the bridge. The NPCs can't get out, but the player can, making it easy to pick them off one at a time. You could also transform into a Werewolf if sufficient progress is made in the Companions' questline, or buy the spell Bound Sword or any spell tome used to summon a familiar beforehand from a court mage.
At one point in the mission, the player is asked if they have any family, and can respond that they are outside Skyrim, that they are all dead, or that they don't have any that they care to talk about. This is perhaps the only time in the game where the Dragonborn can talk about their previous life. This has changed with the release of the DLC Dawnguard. Serana, arguably the main Dawnguard follower, will ask about the Dragonborn's family during a discussion of Serana's family.
When talking to Madanach for the first time, choosing the dialogue option 'How about revenge?' sometimes causes only him to attack. After killing him, the other prisoners will act normally.
Despite Cidhna Mine being considered a prison at the start of the mission, completion of the quest will not reward the "Wanted" achievement.
If you have a follower, like Lydia, before you go back into the Shrine of Talos to get caught, give her your equipment and ask for it in the mine and kill everyone.
It is highly advisable to gain the Silver-Blood Family Ring (whether by sticking to the Silver-Blood side or by playing both sides) as it is one of the only items enchanted with "Fortify Smithing". A skilled enchanter can disenchant this item, and create (for example) a necklace and ring which both raise smithing by 25%. By doing this, one can upgrade any item that does not fall into a specific smithing category (Nightingale Armor, most daedric artifacts) to "legendary" status without the need of smithing potions, which are rare and often hard to aquire.
Always add 360 , PS3 , and PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
Click to show a list of bugs.
Killing all prisoners before entering the shrine will cause the guards to attack you, making the quest unfinishable.
Killing all prisoners before doing this quest will make the quest unplayable.
PC 360 PS3
Fixed when respective Civil War faction takes over Markarth.
PC Solution: Enter the console outside of Markarth and enter TCAI (Toggle Combat Artificial Intelligence). After doing this, the AI will not attack you. Enter Markarth and head to the Shrine of Talos where the three guards confronted you, and then turn TCAI off by entering it in the console again. Here, the guards will speak to you. Select come quietly, and then when the guards start the next conversation with you there should be three dots above the normal response. Select this, the guards will continue their conversation, and afterwards the guards will return to normal and no longer try to arrest you.
Alternatively on PC , when confronted by a guard, click on them and type "paycrimegold" into the console. You should be teleported somewhere in Markarth with no bounty.
PC If you killed the guards inside the shrine, but quest is not toggled as completed: type "setstage MS02 100" (sets quest to complete helping Madanach escape and he clears your name for his crimes - but not of you killing the guards in the shrine), then type "prid 00036f3b", select the guard then "resurrect". Then continue as above with the surrender, go to jail. Select chat option "..." with the guard and repeat the go to jail dialogue. In jail get a pick and start to mine, a dialogue asking if you wish to do your time comes up, select yes.
The solution above works. But might still attack you after guard says "No one escapes Cidhna Mine, no one". To resolve, escape outside the city, be arrested by non-pursuing guard, and serve your sentence.
PS3 Solution: Sneak into the shrine of Talos where 2 or 3 guards will be waiting as if you are finishing The Forsworn Conspiracy quest again. Kill the two guards and wait for third to respawn. During dialogue with the third guard, choose "You're Corrupt, Thonar is paying you" and "Fine, I'll come Quietly".Guard will attack you, kill him. Exit the shrine of Talos. You are glitched if they respond to the "pay off bounty" option with: "We have multiple witnesses, you're not getting away with this." But should be able to pay off the bounty like normal.
PS3 If you choose the jail option, it is possible to be trapped in the mine for good since no one else is there and the gate next to the Orc requires a key, which is not possible to pick. No one escapes Cidhna Mine for the second time...
PS3 Fixed after **1.04/2.03 Patch** 11/02/2012 Went to the shrine of Talos and the Markarth guards weapons and shields where still there (killed them during The Forsworn Conspiracy) Took the weapons and shields and removed them from the Shrine of Talos and got rid of them, completed the quest and had a 1050 Bounty that was paid off.
360 Solution: make sure your level is high enough and enter Markarth. Upon entering the city, do not have any guards spot you, and enter the Shrine of Talos. The three guards from the previous quest "The Forsworn Conspiracy," will still be there, and the middle guard will engage in the same conversation as at the end of that quest. The other two guards will attack you, and because you are in conversation, there is no way to fight back, so be prepared. Answer the guard with "You're corrupt, Thonar is paying you," and then again with "Fine, I'll come quietly." The guard will then do nothing, so heal yourself. After a few seconds, the same guard will attempt to arrest you, and give you the option to pay off your bounty.
Glitches are less likely to occur if you go to jail peacefully.
360 PC ANY quest items in your inventory (which you cannot remove otherwise) will be permanently removed following the break out from the mine, this includes dragon claws, amulets, gems, anything. On the PC version all items from completed quests will sometimes stay, however items like the Elder Scroll will disappear forever.
(PS3) Items may return after leaving the mine, if not, go through the nearest door to trigger another loading screen. Items may return after that.
360 May not receive all quest items from Kaie had prior to before this quest began. However, receive them when the forsworn start fighting the guards outside the ruins. Or kill the forsworn in the ruins, then Thonar gives them back after the conversation.
PC 360 PS3 It is possible upon arriving in Cidhna Mine, Urzoga gra-Shugurz (the guard) has no dialogue options but instead fights you until death.
360 After completing this quest, a glitch occurs that will prevent the PC from being able to Fast Travel or Wait, stating that you are still being pursued by guards. Fix: Commit a crime and allow yourself to be caught. Paying the fine or going to jail will fix the bug.
PC It is possible that Madanach will not have the key in his inventory when you pickpocket him.
If you pickpocket the note from Madanach, it will not let you read it properly, therefore not allowing you to complete the quest. Thonar will attack you upon exiting the ruins.
PC You start the quest in the cell, but both doors are locked with no way to open them.
Solution: Open the console and enter "'setstage ms02 0".
360 PS3 Quest items may not be returned along with the rest of your inventory
If Madanach does not complete his dialogue before leaving the mine, after leaving the mine, Madanach and his men, as well as Thonar and his guard, will just stand outside and do nothing. The event where they're supposed to fight just doesn't happen. Killing Thonar completes the quest and initiates the fight but incurs the 1000 bounty in Markarth. The bounty can be avoided by killing the last witness (the guard) or making other people kill Thonar by casting a strong enough Fury/Frenzy effect on him.
After completing the quest, first helping Madanach to get the armor and then later turning on him by helping the guards kill him so you could also get the ring from Thonar Uraccens dead body is laying along the path just before the entrance to Druadach Redoubt. It is unknown how he made it all the way there and then died.
PS3 Sometimes, when the quest is completed by killing the prisoners, there will be 3 guards standing outside with no one to give the Silver-Blood Family Ring. (Update: to fix this the player must reload to a point before he talk to Talnor in the Treasury house and make sure that Talnor is not attacked by the player during the battle).
360 When starting the quest, you may notice an item you had equipped in your inventory is still in your favorites, and is there and can be used throughout the quest. However, when you get your gear back the item, while still appearing in your favorites, will not appear in your inventory. Even under the favorites section in your inventory. The only way to equip or remove this item is by pressing up on the d-pad. No fix.
360 All pick-up sounds for items will not sound.
Upon exiting the prison, Thonar may be hostile. He is marked essential and cannot be killed, therefore the battle will never end. Casting Calm on him will work in the short term, long enough to complete the quest and get the ring. If you cannot manage to cast Calm on him, just run out of the town, exit combat, fast travel to some place far away then travel back to Markarth . Head to the exit of the Cidhna Mine (door left to the Understone Keep 's door) and Thonar will be waiting you there, not hostile anymore. He'll start conversation and you can finish the quest peacefully.
PC PS3 Skipping the dialogue where the guard says "no one" with enter, the guards will draw, you will be transported to the prison, and the Orc lady will attack.
Possible fix: Make sure there is no bounty when sent to the prison. Was attacked every time arrested. Cleared the hold bounty with a guard, went to the shrine to get arrested and finally the Orc did not attack and went through normal dialogue.
If in Cidha Mines as a prisoner before, do not kill Grisvar. If so, when Madanach tells the player to kill him, he will not be there and won't be able to tell Madanach he is already dead.
PC If one kills Madanach and the Forsworn after receiving the reward armor and then goes out and receives the ring from Thonar, the game registers the quest as the Forsworn wreaking havoc in Markarth and killing the townspeople, causing passing citizens to scold you for helping the Forsworn break out.
360 After getting taken to jail, resting for one hour, the player's follower will appear. Can load up the follower before getting arrested to have gear even while in the prison.
360 If having been sent to the mine before and killed all of the prisoners, will still be sent to the jail but the quest will not start. Even searching the body of Borkul the Beast, will not find a key to the door, only his gauntlets and ragged trousers. This will make it impossible to do the quest.
PS3 360 Follower Glitch: After escaping the mine and completing the quest (aiding the Forsworn escape) any followers you had before being arrested may still be at the Shrine of Talos. Even after killing the guards the follower will stay in position by the shrine. You can still trade but even after parting ways they may still remain there indefinitely so make sure not to have a favourite follower with you at the end of The Forsworn Conspiracy.
PC Sprinting past the Dwemer spheres may cause them to follow you outside into Markarth. This can be a big problem if choosing to kill Madanach, as Thonar will force a dialog tree on exiting the ruins. The Spheres can kill the player will stuck in dialog. If this happens, just load the autosave and skip through the dialog as fast as possible and get as far away from the spheres as possible. Thonar will probably be killed before the spheres are subdued by the guards and be able to loot his corpse with no consequences.
PS3 Sometimes after killing the guards and are sent to Cidhna Mine, it will automatically killing the player, regardless of armor rating, hp, or stamina.
If "The Forsworn Conspiracy" quest is nearly completed except for the final objective to return to the shrine, completing "Season Unending" will finish the Forsworn quest and prevent "No One Escapes Chidna Mine" from starting. The guards will be gone if the player returns to the Shrine to Talos. This may have something to do with Markarth changing sides during the "Season Unending" negotiations. However, completing the Civil War questline in favor of the Imperials should fix this and allow the quest to begin normally.
Xbox 360: After killing Grisvar the Unlucky, you will talk to Madanach. After talking to him you will go out to hear his plan but he doesn't announce it and the quest won't continue.
Sometimes you get stuck in the start of the quest.
PC 360 PS3 It is possible that after exiting the Dwemer Ruins during the escape that there will be no dialogue between Madanach and Thonar.
Solution: Killing Thonar will skip the dialogue and progress the escape of the Forsworn. This will however count as the player siding with the Forsworn and may receive a 40 Gold bounty. The bounty should disappear within a few seconds as Thonar is the only witness to his own murder.
360 After killing Madanach and escaping the mine, Thonar may become hostile for no reason, giving no dialogue options and therefore no end to the quest. Reloading doesn't work.
360 After killing Madanach and all the Forsworn, Thonar will tell you to get out of his sight, without giving you the ring or the pardon. Just pick the lock and go back into the mine, then walk back outside, and he'll give you the items.
360 When your items are returned, either by Kaie or Thonar, your console becomes incredibly laggy. You can reload a previous save from before the quest starts, but you are forced to never get arrested when in the Reach.
When your items are returned, you may not receive you previous quest items.
If the two guards that initially approach you in the Shrine die, speech with other guards might not send you to prison to continue the quest, instead when you opt to be sent to prison, it loops the speech "you'll never see the day of light again" followed by the only reply "what's the problem" which loops it back to multiple speech options which all lead to the same loop.
PS3 If you kill every one in the jail to get the key to Madanach and use and area effect spells sometimes you can occur a bounty while in jail , meaning that when you leave instead of Thonar talking to you he will just attack you.
Sometimes upon finishing "The Forsworn Conspiracy" and choosing to pay your fine very early, or slaying all the guards before they complete their dialogue not leaving any witness (bounty removed doing so) you may not go to the mine, preventing initiation of the quest
Possible solution: getting arrested later in the game for something else rarely triggers the quest