The road to Volskygge (south of Northwatch Keep) leads to a seemingly dead end; however, there is an obscure path down the cliff, but it is easy to miss and will still need the Dragonborn to swim across an inlet; so the best route to get to Northwatch Keep is by following the shore from either the west or east. If traveling by means of the path, the Illusion spell Clairvoyance is helpful.
When the Dragonborn arrives there, he or she is greeted outside by a Thalmor. He will state that the Dragonborn must be a member of the Imperial Legion to enter. If the Dragonborn is not an Imperial soldier, the Dragonborn may enter anyway, but will be attacked. The Dragonborn will then have to battle through the fort to free Thorald.
The other prisoners can be released by picking Master locks, or flipping the levers in the room. However once freed, they just stand there. If their cell doors are open and a Northwatch guard attacks the Dragonborn then the prisoners will run out and help fight the guard, however they will simply walk back to their cells after the guards have been defeated. Attempts to speak with them end with rude generic replies.
Release Thorald Gray-Mane from Thalmor custody.
- Northwatch Archer
- Northwatch Guard
- Northwatch Interrogator
- Northwatch Prisoner
- Thorald Gray-Mane
- Northwatch Mage
- 2920, vol 01 - Morning Star (One-Handed) – can be found behind the bar.
- The Legendary Sancre Tor (Two-Handed) – can be found in the bedroom, directly across from the bed next to the table, sitting on a box.
- At higher levels (36+) all guards will wear full sets of glass armor.
- If one retreats far enough back after attacking the guards, they will cease to be hostile.
- After clearing the keep in the quest "Missing in Action," Hold Guards will comment about the Thalmor having been "taken down a notch." The guards will also comment, "I heard you gave the Thalmor a black eye. You really know how to pick your enemies, don't you?"
- The guards will not attack those in Beast Form. However, once inside, Thorald will attack anyone in beast form. For this reason, it is best to wait it out and revert to normal before making the final assault on the prison cell.
- After completing "Missing In Action," Vidrald and Geirlund may be found in the courtyard.
- If one visits Northwatch Keep before the quest Missing in Action is acquired, then Thorald Gray-Mane will not be in the prison where the Dragonborn can find him in the quest.
- If the Civil War questline has been completed while siding with the Stormcloaks, the Thalmor seem to use this as a hidden retreat within Skyrim. They will prevent the Dragonborn from entering or even asking about Northwatch, claiming it to be "privileged information."
- The guard in the archway is always male, and always has a beard.
- Once cleared of Thalmor, they do not respawn after a certain amount of time has passed; the area will remain cleared out.
- Although the Thalmor have an intense dislike for the local Nords, within the keep there are copious bottles of Nord mead.
- A key to the keep may be pickpocketed from the orc shaman at Largashbur, Atub.
This section contains bugs related to Northwatch Keep. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- If the Dragonborn goes with Thorald's brother to the keep they do not seem to recognize each other and continue on as if one another is not there.
- If the prisoners are killed, they may disappear through the floor.