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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that provides space and freedom, allowing players to get lost in a magnificent magical, yet grounded world. Filled with stories of pain, love, and betrayal, Skyrim presents you, the Dragonborn, with challenging decisions that will ultimately affect the people of Skyrim. Saadia is one such character whose future is in your hands.
Going by the false name of Saadia, her actual name is Iman, a young Redguard noble from the noble house of Suda. She fled from her homeland of Hammerfell to evade capture by agents of the Aldemeri Dominion, or so she says…
Now residing in Whiterun, Saadia lives a quiet life working in the Bannered Mare tavern as a barmaid. Her patrons and colleagues know nothing of her identity. But look at her with great mystery as her scars do not veil her beauty. However, they cannot hide her true identity from those who hunt her.
Saadia Key Notes
- Saadia is found in the Bannered Mare Tavern located in Whiterun.
- Saadia will reward you with five-hundred gold for saving her from the Alik’r Warriors.
- You cannot marry Saadia; however, she can become a steward or follower once her quest has been completed.
- Alik’r Warriors can be found wandering Skyrim questioning Redguard women as a random event. Speaking to them triggers the In My Time of Need quest.
Quest: In My Time of Need
In My Time of Need Key Locations:
- Bannered Mare Inn
- Dragonsreach Dungeon
- Swindlers Den
- Frostfruit Inn
- Whiterun Stables
“In My Time of Need” is the side quest that involves either saving Saadia or betraying her and becomes available after completing the early “Dragon Rising” quest. After this, you may find Alik’r Warriors while walking the roads of Skyrim questioning Redguard women. Alternatively, two Redguard Warriors can be found in Whiterun at the entry gate, being kicked out by the city guard.
Leaving them uninterrupted reveals that the warriors are thrown out for the actions of one of their troops. We will learn more about this in time. After this event, the Alik’r Warriors will ask you to look for Saadia in the city.
When questioned, the warriors refuse to tell you the reason for their mission with the Redguard woman, but their tone alludes to something sinister. The Alik’r Warriors then leave Whiterun before informing you that they can be found in Rorikstead if you find any information on the Redguard women.
You will continue to encounter numerous Alik’r warriors along the roadsides of Skyrim. One warrior can be observed questioning a Redguard woman preparing to take her to their captain. Another warrior stops them, explaining that the woman cannot be the woman they are looking for because her face is missing scars. Suggesting the warriors’ mission is undertaken for the profit of gold, not for personal reasons or duty.
In My Time of Need Objectives
- Find the Redguard woman (Saadia) in the Bannered Mare.
- Help her be rid of the Alik’r Warriors pursuing her.
- Visit Whiterun Dungeon to make a deal with the captured Alik’r Warrior to find the location of the Alik’r hideout. Alternatively, inform the Alik’r in Rorikstead that you have located Saadia.
- Travel to Swindlers Den to kill Kematu, the leader of the warriors, and return to Saadia for a reward. (Completes Quest).
- Help Kematu capture Saadia by luring her to the Whiterun Stables. (Completes Quest)
After completing the “Dragon Rising” quest, visit the Bannered Mare Inn located in Whiterun and talk to Hulda, the inn owner. After a short greeting, Hulda will shout for Saadia to come to serve you.
Once in dialogue, explain to Saadia that Alik’r warriors are looking for her. Fear can be heard in her voice, and she will ask you to speak to her in private about the matter. She will lead you to her room, where she will pull a knife out and threaten you, scared that you are working with the warriors to get her captured.
There are a few dialogue options here to select. However, all will prompt Saadia to explain that her real name is Iman, and she is a noble of house Suda in Hammerfell. She declares that the Alik’r warriors are assassins that have been employed by the Aldermeri Dominion to capture her for speaking out on the Aldermeri Dominion.
If you agree to help her, she will explain that you must kill their leader to get rid of the warriors as the rest will scatter as they are only in it for the money. She then suggests visiting the Whiterun Dungeon as she heard that one of the Alik’r warriors was captured by the city guard trying to sneak into the city.
Save or Condemn Saadia
You can find Whiterun Dungeons in the Cloud District on the first level below Dragonsreach Keep. In a dungeon cell, you will discover a captured Alik’r warrior who explains that his life is now forfeit after being caught and failing his fellow soldiers and that they kill him if they get a chance.
To gain the location of the Alik’r hideout, you will have to pay for the warrior’s freedom. You can pay a nearby guard one hundred gold to set him free. The warrior will then reveal that their leader Kematu has set up a hideout at Swindlers Den. A cave located East of Rorikstead.
Now that you have the location of the warriors, you can head straight to Swindlers Den to either kill Kematu and his warriors or side with him. You can skip informing the Alik’r in Rorikstead that you have discovered Saadia if you are siding with the Alik’r.
Swindlers Den actually belongs to a group of bandits rather than the Alik’r, and you will have to fight your way through the cave before reaching Kematu and his warriors. Strangely you will have to fight the bandits even if you are siding with the Alik’r.
There is one bandit guarding the cave entrance and can be quickly taken out. Upon entering, you can eavesdrop on two bandits bickering about the band of Alik’r that have moved in. One bandit doesn’t care as they have paid well, but the other is uneasy and thinks they will bring trouble to them.
The cave is home to many bandits, and it’s best to have your weapon ready. Following the claustrophobic pathways, you will eventually be led to an opening to a large room that serves as the bandit’s main dining room. You will encounter many bandits in this room.
Fighting this group of bandits can be difficult on higher difficulties, and I recommend leading them to the narrow pathways as you will be able to engage each bandit one by one. As well as avoid archers firing arrows from the ledge above.
If you have ranged weapons, you will be able to take the archers out on the ledge. If not, make your way through the room, looting and dodging as you go. You’ll come across a smaller room inhabited by another bandit who makes short work of them and takes advantage of the makeshift spits, harvesting the cooked salmon from them. These will provide a decent amount of health and replenish any hunger if you play in survival mode.
Note that there are a few narrow paths in this cave that you can exploit to help you fight enemies one at a time. This is especially useful when taking on the main group of Alik’r. However, be aware that followers will make it tricky to maneuver around in these small areas, and they can trap you from escaping attacking enemies.
Kematu’s Waterfall Lair
Following the next path will lead you to the Alik’r hideout and the end of the cave. Hidden under a wall of water dropping from an underground waterfall, you will discover a path in a shallow stream that will reveal Kematu and his warriors.
You now either have the option to side with Kematu or kill him and all his warriors. I recommend retreating back into the narrow path to take on the Alik’r as there are a lot of them. Whatever choice you make, Kematu will begin a conversation with you and try to make you join his side in capturing Saadia.
He will explain that he has orders to capture Saadia and bring her back to Hammerfell for trial as she aided the Aldermeri Dominion and betrayed her family, leading to the loss of… It becomes challenging to know who is telling the truth and lying after talking to Kematu.
If you decide to kill Kematu and the Alik’r, return to Saadia and explain that the Alik’r will no longer bother her and collect your reward. However, if you decide with Kematu, you will have to lure Saadia into a trap by telling her that the Alik’r have got into Whiterun and are searching for her, slyly telling her to head to Whiterun Stables to escape leading her straight to Kematu. Who then freezes her with a spell, ready to be transported back to Hammerfell for her trial.
You can still change your mind and save Saadia by killing Kematu before he casts the spell. Although Saadia will not be happy for not telling her, she will still be grateful for saving her life and from the Alik’r.
Either way, it’s a difficult decision to make, as your actions will ultimately change the lives of two people; however, it can be argued that Saadia is the most affected in this situation. With little information and evidence to go on, you are left with having to trust either Kematu or Saadia’s defense.
Is Saadia Lying?
Saadia begs you, the Dragonborn, to save her from the Alik’r that pursue her, claiming that they are assassins sent by the Aldermeri Dominion to kill her for speaking out on the High Elves. At first glance, this would make sense. However, cracks in her story begin to appear, considering the uneasy relationship between the Aldermeri Dominion and the Redguards due to a bloody history.
One of the most important questions is why would the Aldermeri Dominion employ Alik’r warriors to track Saadia down. Maybe Kematu has more information than the Dominion on her whereabouts and prior knowledge of the affair in Tenath, her home city. However, the Aldermeri Dominion has agents and bases around Skyrim, making the Alik’r warrior’s service a waste of gold.
In addition, it is only recently that the Aldermeri Dominion and Redguards have concluded their war. The two factions continued to war even after the White-Gold Concordant was signed by the emperor. Meaning that the two factions despise each other.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding Saadia. While we get glimpses into what may have happened in Taneth, we never learn about the origin of her scars. Maybe she was inflicted with these scars fleeing from the Aldermeri Dominion or Alik’r warriors or even from her family, leading her to reject her people and side with the Dominion giving them entrance to the city of Taneth.
Although this is speculation, the ambiguous writing and delicate details that Bethesda has given the player make for an exciting debate.
Is Kematu Lying?
At face value, it’s very easy to side with Saadia as she is the first to explain her predicament. In addition, the Alik’r warriors do not state why they are after her suggesting that they are only trying to capture her for money. Although Kematu explains why they are chasing Saadia, it doesn’t make sense that they would be holding out in a bandit cave.
Upon entering Swindlers Den, bandits discuss their nervous feelings about the Alik’r presence in their hideout. Even they feel untrust to the group of warriors as their thin alliance is loosely held through payment in gold. Hammerfell and the Empire have somewhat of a relationship; therefore, why would Alik’r warriors hide from the Jarls of Skyrim, especially Jarl Balgruuf, an Imperial sympathizer.
Warriors on Foreign Land
The Alik’r get kicked out of Whiterun for one of their soldiers trying to sneak into the city. It would make sense that Alik’r warriors may not be allowed in Whiterun city as they are soldiers of Hammerfell and mercenaries.
At the same time, surely Kematu would be able to set up a meeting with the Jarl or empire to discuss Saadia’s treason; however, the warriors conduct their mission in secrecy and wariness of any officials. As a result, the band of warriors comes off as untrustworthy.
It comes quickly apparent after working with Jarl Bulgruuf that he cares deeply about his citizens, more so than the qualms between the Imperials and Stormcloaks. Therefore, it’s not overly farfetched that Jarl Bulgruuf knows that the Alik’r are searching for Saadia, and it would be in his nature to protect her from harm. It can be assumed that Saadia is indeed fond of Skyrim and Whiterun, as she states she will return to her job as a barmaid at the Bannered Mare once Kematu is killed.
Interestingly if Saadia is killed, her remains can later be found in the Hall of the Dead crypt in Whiterun. However, if you help Kematu capture Saadia to be brought back to Hammerfell for her trial, her remains will also appear in the Hall of the Dead crypt.
This could mean that Kematu kills Saadia instead of taking her back to Hammerfell, or Saadia is sentenced to death at her trial in Hammerfell, and she asks for her remains to be sent to Whiterun as this may have felt like her true home.
Question: What Happens if you go to Jail in Skyrim?
Answer: After you are caught by a guard for committing a crime, all your inventory will be confiscated by the guards, and you will be taken to a jail cell. You can either serve your sentence by waiting in your cell or break out using a lockpick. However, you will only have one lockpick, so be careful or save before attempting to break out.
Question: Who are the Alik’r Warriors Found at Whiterun?
Answer:The Alik’r warriors are a band of mercenaries originating from Hammerfell in the Alik’r desert. The Alik’r desert is the largest desert in all of Tamriel, and people who inhabit the desert roam as nomads. While not a fully-fledged organization, the Alik’r warriors are used as mercenaries for their masterful combat skills. Redguards are described in the Elder Scrolls series as the most talented swordsmen in Tamriel.
Question: Why Does the Aldermeri Dominion Want Hammerfell?
Answer: The Aldermeri Dominion’s original goal was to unite Tamriel under Elvish rule forbidding the worship of Talos. The Great War would commence in 171 4E and occur between Cyrodil and Hammerfell. The Redguards rejected the White-Gold Concordant and would continue to fight the Aldermeri Dominion for another five years leaving Southern Hammerfell in ruins before the Elves would retreat. In consequence, Hammerfell became independent from the empire.
Saadia Skyrim Guide: Conclusion
In conclusion, the “In My Time of Need” quest is ambiguous and open to interpretation. It’s a great example of the openness and freedom of the Elder Scrolls series. This quest, in particular, requires you to make a tough decision based upon little evidence and information. As a result, the innocence of Saadia has been debated online since the game’s release in 2011.
In my playthroughs, I have always sided with Saadia. I understand that her story has to be taken at face value. However, the actions of Alik’r don’t make sense. The small details add up, so I always save Saadia.