Silenced Tongues is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This quest can be started upon entering Volunruud and picking up Heddic's Volunruud Notes, or by activating the Elder's Cairn door.

Quick walkthroughEdit

In brief, the walkthrough for this cavern is:


After entering Volunruud, reading the notes to start the quest, and proceeding down the stairs, the Dragonborn stands in a small cave with passages in several directions. The left-most (southwest) passage has no enemies, but contains an urn and a treasure chest filled with loot (this is where Amaund Motierre is for the Dark Brotherhood quests). The next doorway (to the west northwest) leads to an iron door and then a crypt with a few draugr lying at rest. The path continues straight down into a winding cavern with another draugr warrior lurking about. The last room has a boss level draugr defending it (depending upon level, there may be two draugr).

This draugr has the ability to use the Unrelenting Force/Disarm shout and uses frost-based destruction magic, like Ice Spike, making it a challenging opponent. There are rusted metal plates on the floor. Stepping on them causes a metal spike to jut out and stab the Dragonborn if not avoided. On the wall behind the throne the draugr was sitting on, the ceremonial axe hangs. There is also a copy of the skillbook Mace Etiquette on the right-hand side of the throne.

Back in the main cavern, the opening to the northeast should be followed (skipping the stairs to the north for now). This leads to a winding tunnel and eventually to the middle level of a multi-level room with several draugr opponents including a draugr wight, capable of casting frost Destruction spells.

There is a swinging door trap covering the opening from the lower part of the room to the northeast. This area narrows into a corridor that can be used to trap the draugr. By stepping on the trap and moving out of the way, the door will hit the enemy. Another option is to cast rune spells on the tunnel floor so the enemies trigger it as they run by. If timed properly, a dragon shout will hit multiple targets as they cluster in the tunnel as well.

After the room is cleared, through this opening and up a few stairs is a room with another draugr. There are paths to the left and right. The left path leads to stairs that lead back to the middle level of the multi-level room, but on the other side from where the room was first entered. The right-hand tunnel leads up onto a high catwalk at the top of the multi-level room. Across it is a room with an Ancient Nord Helmet. One draugr will attack in this room. Through the iron door is the ceremonial sword in a crypt. Two more draugr will immediately attack as soon as the room is entered.

With the two Ceremonial weapons in hand, back in the main cavern again, it is now time to proceed up the stairs to the north. In this room there is a large table surrounded by candles. There's a leveled shield on the table and some embalming tools. Upon activating the Elder's Cairn door on the opposite side of the room, the two ceremonial weapons are taken. Now the door to the Elder's Cairn can be opened.

Through a hallway, there is a Burned Corpse kneeling in front of a fireplace, kneeling on a scroll of Ice Storm. In the next room there are two draugr who should be dealt with here or else they may drop down off of the bridge and sneak up behind. In this room, there is a rhythmic swishing sound which fades to become the sound of Nord chanting, indicating that the words of a Shout are nearby. But that also means there is a strong defender...

Down the hall is a narrow passage. At the end is a large room with Kvenel. Depending on the Dragonborn's level, equipment and skills, he can be a very challenging opponent. Even with a low archery and sneak skill it's fairly easy to kill him from behind the row of pillars circling the room. The strategy is to only fire when hidden and to make sure the Dragonborn can move easily to the other side of the room as soon as an arrow has been fired.

After killing Kvenel, his corpse holds Eduj and other loot, whilst Okin can be found near his remains (but not in his inventory) once he is killed. Upstairs is some good loot which may include a dragon priest dagger and the One-Handed skill book Night Falls on Sentinel. There is also a Word Wall up the steps to the west for the shout Aura Whisper. There may be a skeleton back at the entrance after defeating Kvenel the Tongue.


  • Kvenel is capable of casting various ice based destruction spells, summoning frost atronachs and using the Unrelenting Force Shout. Depending on the Dragonborn's level and how far into the chambers have been fought, there is also the threat of fighting mid-high level draugr such as the draugr Scourge that will crawl out of the coffin besides Kvenel's throne. Draugr may also awaken mid-battle and join the fight.
  • If the ceremonial sword cannot be found within its specific room (the quest arrow points toward the ceiling), the Storm Call shout can be used, and it may appear on the ground with a clatter.
  • For some play-throughs Kvenel won't heal, so with decent Sneak, it is possible to kill the draugr on the path, sneak until he can be seen, shoot Kvenel with an arrow, sneak away until hidden, wait a few seconds and repeat. This should allow this difficult opponent to be taken down without drawing a sword or casting a spell.
  • It is also possible to lure Kvenel back into the main cavern that leads into Volunruud, where there is more room to dodge and large pillars to hide behind. On the way back to the entrance door, rune spells (e.g. Fire Runes) can be placed along the cave corridors, or stronger summons such as Flame Atronachs to slow him down and cause some damage to cover a retreat. The sprint button should be used or Kvenel will go up the staircase that leads to the Dragon runes, over to the stone bridge, drop down and outflank the Dragonborn. This typically happens if the Dragonborn doesn't move far enough into the room to fight him. Once in the main hall, continually moving around the pillars will prevent Kvenel from being able to get a clear shot. After taking enough damage, Kvenel may temporarily retreat into one of the side corridors giving the Dragonborn the chance to heal and recover.
  • He can be trapped between the coffin by his throne and the wall.
  • Alternatively for Stealth builds, he can be baited into revealing his back with arrows for an easier backstab. If he is shot in the face once, then running back to the entrance until he turns around, while walking back towards the throne, his Stealth detection is extremely low. Using invisibility potions makes sure the sneaky hit can be gotten.
  • If all other tactics fail, there is a more guaranteed way to a easy win with the Flames or any other spell that can be held down. Hitting him only once with an arrow or spell will cause him to notice the Dragonborn, When he does, it is then possible to run back to the main room. If he follows into the main room, good, if not, the process can be repeated until successful. After going through the door, the Dragonborn should run to the other end of the table, then wait for him to come through the door. He will then attempt to get around the table, but keep circling the table while he runs about it while constantly casting magic. If he comes too close, Unrelenting Force can be used to knock him away.
  • Another varient of this tactic, useful if you're low on healing potions, is to lead him into the main cavern, bringing two staffs and several soul gems of poor or petty quality. Leading Kvenel around the pillar on the right (facing away from the entrance door) and using the staffs allows the Dragonborn to damage him with little risk, while still saving magicka for healing spells.
  • It is recommended that the Dragonborn is at a fairly high level for this quest, preferably level 20 or above.
  • Once Kvenel has been defeated, various other opponents may spawn.
  • Past the word wall, there is a chest hidden on a ledge. It is possible to open it in mid air by jumping towards it and hitting "A" or Whirlwind Sprint can be used to boost to the ledge from the bridge. Note that it's also possible to just walk along the very tiny ledge to the hidden chest and make it without falling.


Journal Entry
I may be able to recover two ceremonial weapons within Volunruud which will allow me to enter the Elder's Cairn.
  • Objective: Locate The Ceremonial Weapons
Now that I have both ceremonial weapons, I should be able to open the door to the Elder's Cairn.
  • Objective: Open the Elder's Cairn
  • Objective: Defeat Kvenel
I defeated an ancient draugr named Kvenel within Volunruud
  • Quest complete


This section contains bugs related to Silenced Tongues. 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  ,  NX  , 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.
  •  PC   360   PS3   In the room with the swinging spiked gate, a pot can trigger the gate and it will remain stuck, blocking the path.
    •  360   If the game was not saved, etc.: It is possible to jump from the top of the wooden stairs onto the left hand side of the wall to the vines and a tiny ledge in the wall, then onto the next tiny ledge and vines. If the Dragonborn continues walking forward and jumping, the platform on the other side of the room above the trap door can be reached.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The ceremonial weapons needed to advance the quest can not be picked up. This can be solved by using the Unrelenting Force shout on the weapons, which will activate the option to pick them up.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The quest will not start if Volunruud is explored before reading the notes. Attempting to open the Elder's Cairn Door, even with both Ceremonial Weapons, will bring up the message "You lack the required item."
    • Dropping the weapons and attempting to open the door should give the quest if it wasn't obtained from the book. Once the quest is obtained, picking up the weapons should allow the door to be opened.
  •  PC   Some instances the ceremonial weapons will not appear in their designated spots.
    •  PC(Fix)   Can be solved by typing in the console command player.additem ID 0008adfb 1 for the axe, and player.additem ID 0008adfc 1 for the sword and after getting both items, the buged one this way, type setstage dunVolunruudQST 20.
  • Putting in one weapon without the other (putting in the sword first, then getting the axe and putting it in later) can make the door inoperable.
  • If the Dragonborn is a Vampire Lord, they can transform near the door and phase through it, bypassing most of the quest. However the quest will be glitched and can never be completed.
  •  360   PS3   Kvenel the Tongue may occasionally become stuck in the floor. However, he is still killable with area-of-effect spells.