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Bleak Falls Barrow
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Before the Storm
Quest Giver
Jarl Balgruuf the Greater
Bleak Falls Barrow, Riverwood,
Enchanted Level Armor,
Permission to buy a house in Whiterun
Followed by
Dragon Rising
Quest Objectives

Farengar Secret-Fire, Jarl Balgruuf's court wizard, asked me to retrieve a Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow, a stone tablet that he believes contains a map of ancient dragon burial sites. He hopes this will help him understand how and why dragons are returning to Tamriel. He was pleased when I returned with it, and promised that the Jarl will reward me for my efforts.

— Dragonborn

In Riverwood, Jarl Balgruuf reckons Farengar Secret-Fire has a job appropriate for an adventurer like you.


If you partook in The Golden Claw (quest) earlier, you will have already visited this area and also procured the item that Farengar requests. Speak with Farengar and, if you already have the Dragonstone in your possession, you will have the dialogue option to show it to him. If not, you will need to proceed to the Bleak Falls Temple (preferably with The Golden Claw (quest) ready in your log as well) and wade deep into its cavernous depths to find the Dragonstone. However if you enter the instance and wait, you will overhear some bandits talking about the Golden Claw and it will start a quest in your log, asking you to find out more about the artefact.

Head toward the snowy mountains to soon encounter bandits and enemy archers. Head toward Bleak Falls Barrow and enter the decrepit Bleak Falls Temple. The interior is sparsely populated at the moment, but you will find plenty of skeever carcasses to pick at, as well as a locked chest on which to practice your lockpicking. After putting down the first two bandits, you will not encounter another until deeper in. Be sure to loot the burial urns for some gold pieces and relieve the shelves of some potions as well.

You reach a room with a lever and a gate. When you pull the lever, you will initially be met by a shower of arrows—obviously an unintended result. This mini-puzzle requires you to flip the three pillars on the left side to match the correct sequence of the pillars displayed above the gate. The pillar in the middle has fallen to the ground next to the lever. The correct sequence is: snake, snake, swordfish. Pull the lever once you have set this pattern to open the gate.

Reading the thief book ahead improves your Lockpicking a bit. Descend the spiral stairs to the cobweb-filled area below; be sure to pick up the Scroll of Fireball. Hack through the thick wall of cobwebs and proceed to meet up with Arvel the Swift. You discover that this grandmaster thief has been captured by a Frostbite Spider, but managed to mortally wound and significantly weaken the giant arachnid. Finish it off and speak to Arvel the Swift. Before freeing him, inquire about the Golden Claw.

The double-crossing scum will try to run away, screwing you out of the claw. Take him down and loot his body for the Golden Claw. You begin to head into the crypt, from which draugrs emerge and attack. These are stronger foes than the bandits you have been seeing, so avoid dealing with too many at once.

Time the swinging axes and sprint through the corridor as soon as they retract. In these tighter spaces, you will encounter more draugrs, but notice that the slick, iridescent liquid on the ground — it is flammable. Lure the draugrs over it and light it afire either with fire magic or knock one of the flame lanterns onto the oil. One more draugr pops out from the coffin; slay it and loot the chest nearby. Pull the chain nearby to access another part of the temple. This area is prime farming ground for Glowing Mushrooms, which can be harvested from the walls as you come to them.

The linear path leads outside to a small waterfall, the base of which features a chest and corpses to loot. The path eventually takes you to a restless draugr, a slightly sturdier variant that might require more effort to slay. The door ahead leads to Bleak Falls Sanctum. More draugrs, but there is also more oil to help you out.

Through the iron doors at the top of the stairs, you walk down the hall to the stone door ahead. On the stone door are a set of rings with symbols and a keyhole in the shape of the Golden Claw emblazoned on the door. You can rotate each ring individually and match the engravings on the Golden Claw itself. Inspect the Golden Claw in the items menu to clearly see the correct order. The solution, from top to bottom is: bear, hummingbird, owl. Afterwards, put the Golden Claw in place to open the door.

Move towards the engravings on the word wall to learn a word for the Unrelenting Force shout, at which point a Draugr Overlord appears. Use the uneven terrain to your advantage; the Overlord has a hard time of keeping up with you if you alternate between a high point and low point, using a bow or long-range magic to deal damage. Loot the Dragonstone from its dead body. After doing so, be sure to check both waterfalls. Each one has a chest that can be looted. The chest behind the waterfall on the right will require a lockpick to open. You can then continue up the stairs making your way back to Skyrim.