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No One Escapes Cidhna Mine
The Forsworn Conspiracy
Quest Giver
Markarth Guards
Cidhna Mine
Markarth Ruins
Silver-Blood Family Ring or
Armor of the Old Gods Set
Quest Objectives

Wrongfully imprisoned by the cities guards, framed for murder, the Dragonborn has been sentenced to a life of manual labour at Cidhna Mine. You must escape!


Criminals in their own land, the Forsworn were the first to settle in the area but when the Nords came they where enslaved and worship of their gods was outlawed. Some of them refused to submit and held onto their old ways in the hopes of being able to create a kingdom of their own. They seek vengeance and are willing to spill blood to achieve this goal. During the uprising, they were on the verge of taking Markarth and had driven the Nords out, but their leader Madanach was captured, quickly tried and sentenced to death. Yet his execution never came, Thonar Silver-Blood had it stopped. He had a devious plan to manipulate the Forsworn into doing his bidding by using their incarcerated leader as leverage. So... Madanach has played along with Thonar's plans patiently waiting for his opportunity to make a move.


While returning to the Shrine of Talos with the evidence from the quest The Forsworn Conspiracy you are arrested by some corrupted Markarth Guards.

Tip: Hopefully before this you saved your game outside the shrine prior to being arrested and made your companions/followers wait outside too. Alternatively, save the game, dismiss your companion having agreed where you can engage them again. If not, they may disappear and be lost at the completion of the quest.

The quest starts off with you spawning in rags in your cell, all your gear will be returned if the quest is completed correctly.

There are two endings to this quest be forewarned and make sure you have a save before choosing either path. You can side with the Silver-Blood family and also the city of Markarth or alternatively the barbarians, the Forsworn. Choose wisely.

Locked Up[]

When you come to, you will find yourself in a cell with a guard. If you take a look at your quest log you will see that you need to find Madanach. Jump down to the main room with the campfire, speak to Uraccen who will be sitting down next to the fire. He will tell you in order to speak to Madanach you will have to get past the gate and the Orc guarding it.

The mine is full of ore deposits (Silver Ore Vein ×5), and you can easily find a spare pickaxe laying around.

Borkul the Beast[]

Borkul the Beast, a cold-blooded murderer holds the key to the gate that leads to Madanach room. There are two ways of getting the key, complete his miniquest by finding a Shiv or if you have high enough Speechcraft persuade to be let past or you can brawl; if you choose to brawl him and if you win he will immediately offer up the key. Another option to get past is intimidation, finally try to simply pickpocket for the key, and use that to open the gate.

Find a Shiv[]

Go down the right corridor, Speak to Grisvar the Unlucky about getting a Shiv, he has one but will ask for you to find him Skooma first. Find Duach, persuade or intimidate (brawl) him for the Skooma; you can also pickpocket it. Return to Grisvar to make the exchange. Then continue on, back to Borkul, offer him the Shiv and in-turn he will unlock the gate.

Madanach's Cell[]

This is where the alternative options for the quest split; Make sure you know which option you wish to pursue and save before entering the cell!

On the right side of the wall, while on the way to Madanach there will be a locked door that requires a key; This door eventually leads to the exit. It is possible to pickpocket the note) from Madanach. Read the note to learn about the escape plan.

Option 1: Kill Madanach[]

Immediately kill Madanach. Or When talking select the "Lets start with revenge!" option; if you chose this option everyone in the mine will become hostile. Loot Madanachs note and key off his corpse, grabbing the extra Shiv can be useful as-well.
Read the note and as it says, use the escape route. Exit through the locked gate that you passed on the way to Madanach's cell. You will eventually come to a door leading to the Markarth Ruins. Continue through the tunnels and past the spider(s) until you come to a large room. There are two Dwarven Spheres inside and they can prove to be quite challenging. There are some potions and a chest with a chance of containing a weapon that could help. It is also possible to sneak by the Dwarven Spheres if your Sneak skill is sufficiently high. Continue on to the end of the tunnel to the door leading back to Markarth.
Upon exiting you will find Thonar Silver-Blood waiting for you. Speak to him and he will return your confiscated gear. He will also clear your name by granting you a pardon and reward you with the Silver-Blood Family Ring.

Option 2: Jailbreak the Forsworn[]

When you first speak to Madanach select the option "I want my freedom" and he will tell you that even if you did escape that you would still not be exonerated for the framed murders and that you are one of them now. Select the next dialogue option "Understand? How?" to continue on this alternate quest path. He will send you to learn the sob story of Braig. Find and speak to Braig, but before he tells you his story, he will ask you a few questions about your life.
Eventually, he will tell you that when he was arrested as a Forsworn agent. His daughter Aethra pleaded to the Jarl to take her fathers place at the chopping block. A request that was obliged, they made Braig watch as his daughter was executed right in front of him and then threw him into the mine anyway. He says his story of suffering is not unique and that every family in the Reach has a story like his. "There are no innocent onlookers in this struggle, just the guilty and the dead."
Return to Madanach and tell him you heard Braig's story. He will test your loyalty by asking you to kill Grisvar the Unlucky whom he regards as a thief and a snitch. Ask for a Shiv, then go back to Grisvar, inform him that "Madanach says hello" and kill him. Return once again to Madanach who will welcome you as a brother into the Forsworn, but first things first everyone needs to escape!
The locked gate that requires a key on the way to Madanach room will be opened, follow the gang through there to Markarth Ruins. Through the tunnels and pass spider(s) you will come to a large room there are two Dwarven Spheres in here, they can prove to be quiet difficult to overcome; there are some potions and a chest with the possibility of containing a weapon that could help. Continue on to the end of the tunnel, at the door leading to Markarth wait until Kaie returns all of your gear and Madanach gives you four pieces of Armor of the Old Gods: Helmet of the Old Gods, Armor of the Old Gods, Gauntlets of the Old Gods, and Boots of the Old Gods.
Once you are ready, exit to Markarth, you will step out into a scene of carnage. Madanach will kill Thonar and the Forsworn will run through the city slaughtering guard after guard all the way through to the gates and onward to freedom.

Option 3: Play Both Sides[]

It is possible to obtain the Armor of the Old Gods and also complete the Thonar Silver-Blood part of the quest. Follow all the steps of Option 2; As soon as Madanach returns your gear and reward, kill him and his men prior to exiting Markarth Ruins. Thonar will be waiting for you outside, speak to him, he will pardon all crimes committed. There will be an option to get your gear back again but since you already have your gear you will receive nothing (no duplicates). He will also grant you the reward for his side of the quest, the Silver-Blood Family Ring.


  • If any bugs or glitches to the quest occurs you must restart the quest at a point prior to being arrested.
  • On completion, go back to check the Shrine of Talos in Markarth. If there are guards waiting for you, you must redo the quest. (This could possibly be caused by siding with Forsworn and not having Thonar pardon your crimes?)
  • Quest stuck in loop: If you are re-arrested by the same guards in the shrine the mine will be empty and there will be no way to get past the door to Madanach Cell. You will be stuck.
  • If you chose Option 2: There are some hints leading to Madanach's new base of operation at Druadach Redoubt; You may wish to go check it out, it contains lots of loot, and a map of all Forsworn encampments.
  • This quest is very buggy, having saved often should help though.