Shadowmere is a horse in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, originally owned by Lucien Lachance. Astrid lets the Dragonborn borrow Shadowmere to travel to the Dawnstar Sanctuary for the quest The Cure for Madness. She then gives him to the Dragonborn as a reward for completing the quest. Shadowmere spawns from a pool outside the Falkreath Sanctuary, follows the Dragonborn when they Fast Travel, and can provide aid during combat.
During "The Cure for Madness," the Sanctuary-Leader Astrid wants the Dragonborn to follow Cicero, the Night Mother's Keeper, to the Dawnstar Sanctuary as swiftly as possible. To that end, she gives them Shadowmere, whom she calls "one of us." The horse's first appearance outside the Sanctuary is very dramatic, and clearly shows that Shadowmere is no common horse, as it appears out of dark water and smoke, and has glowing red eyes.
If the Dragonborn fast travels anywhere outside a city, Shadowmere will appear there. Fast traveling to a city causes Shadowmere to be found at that city's stables instead.
Shadowmere has much higher health than a regular horse and an extremely fast health regeneration, making him far less likely to die than normal horses. If enemies are nearby, Shadowmere will actively attack them. He deals very little damage, but can serve as a useful distraction while the Dragonborn attacks from afar.
Astrid calls Shadowmere a "he," although Shadowmere is identified as a "she" by Lucien Lachance in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Astrid is known to sometimes switch between calling Shadowmere a she and he, but never within the same conversation. The spectral assassin version of Lachance will also call it a he when Lachance sees the horse.
Shadowmere is commonly used for many exploits to raise combat skills because of his large amount of health. The player can either use magic or weapons on Shadowmere to raise that skill. The only problem is killing him. However, due to Shadowmere's massive health regeneration, killing him is unlikely unless one uses high-end smithed weapons or perked sneak attacks. If his health does get low, it is recommended to wait an hour and continue attacking.
- If the Spectral Assassin is summoned, who is the spirit of Lucien Lachance, he greets Shadowmere as an "old friend."
- Unlike its previous incarnation, Shadowmere can be killed by long falls or in combat. Shadowmere will, however, respawn around ten days later, at the location of death.
- Shadowmere will not respawn in this location if killed in a body of water. In that case, he will respawn in the pool outside the Sanctuary.
- A handprint of the Black Hand can be seen on either side of Shadowmere's saddle.
- While Shadowmere may appear to be pure black, it is actually a very dark reddish brown.
- Shadowmere is not immune to all spells and can be killed if Destruction spells are used against him at a faster rate than his health regeneration.
- Shadowmere can be killed by the Instant Kill effect of the Wabbajack.
- If Shadowmere is not approached at all until "Death Incarnate," it will already be fighting the Penitus Oculatus by the time the Dragonborn returns to the Sanctuary.
- Shadowmere's saddle resembles a Roman four horned saddle.
- When Shadowmere first appears in the pool, if listening closely over the boiling of the water, galloping can be heard, as well as thunder when Shadowmere appears out of the smoke.
- If Shadowmere is spawned by console commands, attacking him will cause him to become hostile towards the Dragonborn.
This section contains bugs related to Shadowmere (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Sometimes, after mounting Shadowmere the Dragonborn will float in the air in the sitting position, still controlling Shadowmere, giving the impression of becoming Shadowmere. The Dragonborn will also move and rock back and forth while floating in the air. This seemed to happen only at the Peryite Shrine, Riften Stables, and just outside Whiterun.
- On occasion, Shadowmere will not rise from the pool, making him impossible to ride. This is caused by the scripted event commanding the rise never occurring. Luring enemies near him might cause Shadowmere to attack, fixing this bug (e.g. during the quest "Death Incarnate").
- Solution: Fast travel to where the last horse was bought then fast traveling back to the sanctuary. Should this fail, visiting all of the stables before going back to the sanctuary may work.
- Shadowmere may spontaneously die with no evident cause.
- Shadowmere can appear in Sovngarde during the fight with Alduin.
- Shadowmere may disappear from the game entirely, however the spectral assassin still makes comments as if he were still present.
- Shadowmere may fall through the ground and disappear forever.
- Rarely, when Shadowmere spawns close to the Dragonborn after fast traveling, the camera view is in Shadowmere's view, and this makes playing impossible.
- If "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" was completed and the Dragonborn sided with the Forsworn, Shadowmere will attack all friendly forsworn.
- Shadowmere may not respawn after death. This is unknown whether or not this is a glitch.
- Shadowmere may attack Serana if her magic hits him.