Despite being one of the 17 known Daedric Princes in the Elder Scrolls series, Meridia is one of the more obscure Daedric gods. The destruction of Vvardenfell following the Red Year likely contributed to Meridia’s falling into slight obscurity. Nevertheless, Meridia is a powerful deity, and you’d be wise to answer her call should she summon you.
Foul darkness has arisen in Meridia’s place of worship, and she needs a champion. Should you banish what blackens her temple, the Daedric Prince of Life and Lady of Infinite Energies can become a beacon of light to the people of Skyrim. The bringing of the dawn rests upon your shoulders.
The Dragonborn must be at least level 12 to begin Meridia’s quest. There are no other requirements.
- Be Level 21 or above
- Companion or summoned minion (Meat shields for the final boss)
- Potions or magical apparel that provide frost resistance
- Strongest bow and arrows you have + Fortify Marksman or True Shot potions
- Common-Grand soul gems and soul trap weapon or spell if starting this quest at level 21 and up
- Rune spell or Storm scroll
To complete The Break of Dawn quest, you need to clear out Kilkreath Temple just below the Statue of Meridia. The Statue of Meridia is west of Solitude.
- Elemental Fury Word of Power
- Dawnbreaker (2)
- The Battle of Red Mountain (Block skill book)
- Several thousand Septims (Results vary)
- Gold Emerald Ring
A New Hand Touches the Beacon
After hitting level 12, you will randomly find Meridia’s beacon inside a chest somewhere in the world of Skyrim. It has no set location and almost always appears in a dungeon’s final chest.
If you want to fast-track starting this quest, you can instead head straight for the Statue of Meridia west of Solitude. Follow the road exiting the city, then take a right. Up the path and take another right to climb the steps to the Statue of Meridia.
Meridia will greet you and speak of the troubles that she is having in her temple. She has decided to elect you to be her champion, but first, you must find and return her beacon to her. She will then mark a random location on your map. If you’re lucky, it’ll be a place that you’ve already been to (Or at least discovered). If you’re unlucky like me, she sends you into a vampire den.
Travel to the location she marked for you, kill whatever gets in your way and retrieve the beacon from a chest. Head back to Meridia’s statue, where you hopefully won’t have my luck and be accosted by a dragon before you can give Meridia her shiny ball back.
Place the beacon on the gem pedestal, and the screen will turn blinding white as the Dragonborn gets lifted into the sky. Meridia will appear before you as a ball of light and command you to cleanse her temple.
A necromancer named Malkoran has taken up residence in Kilkreath Temple to conduct his experiments. He has used the souls of those killed in the Skyrim Civil War to build an undead army of his own. Even worse, he is siphoning power from Meridia’s artifact, Dawnbreaker, to make it happen.
Malkoran has used his magic to bar all the doors within Kilkreath Temple, but Meridia will use her light to break through his defenses. Meridia wants you to guide this light to the heart of her temple, slay Malkoran and retrieve Dawnbreaker for her. We can’t disobey a god, now can we, so let’s get to it.
But before we do that, head down the steps from the shrine and make a right. You’ll begin to hear the chanting of a word wall. Most word walls in Skyrim are in tombs or atop peaks, but this one is out in the open and completely unguarded. I’m not complaining. Step up to the word wall to learn a word of the Elemental Fury shout.
Make your way to the base of the shrine and enter Kilkreath Temple.
As soon as you step inside, you’ll notice a constant shroud of black fog and that corpses of Imperial and Stormcloak soldiers litter the ground. These desiccated corpses are unique compared to the rest found in Skyrim in that they carry a large amount of gold on them. Each has between 25-125 gold, so make sure to loot all of them.
Make your way down the path, and soon you’ll come face-to-face with this dungeon’s enemies: the corrupted shades. These are the unfortunate souls of the soldiers turned into unwilling, undead abominations. The souls of the corrupted shades scale with your character’s level, making this an excellent soul farming location. Bring out your soul trap weapon of choice, and go to town. Here’s a breakdown of how their souls work:
Level 1-10: Petty souls
Level 11-20: Lesser souls
Level 21-30: Common souls
Level 31-40: Greater souls
Level 41: Grand souls
Enchanted weapons and armor are the way to go in Skyrim, so don’t miss this opportunity. I find coming here before level 21 to be a bit of a waste.
Anywho, make your way down into the temple, dealing with the corrupted shades as you go. You’ll come across a hall with an adept-locked wooden door on the left and a gate on the right. Pick open the wooden door to reveal a lever that will open the gate. Inside is a dead-end room with a chest with some randomized loot.
Press on, and you’ll step inside the first beacon chamber. Here you’ll see Meridia’s light shining through and into the temple. In the center of this chamber is a pedestal. You need to activate it to guide Meridia’s light further so she can unlock the temple doors for you. Be careful not to step into Meridia’s light yourself, as it will drain your health and magicka.
After interacting with the pedestal, the iron door up ahead will open up into what appears to be a worship hall. A couple of corrupted shades will be here to bother you. On the ledge above the altar is another pedestal to activate. Doing so will unlock a door straight ahead and a door to the east.
The game gives you a fake-out here, as the door up ahead only leads to a collapsed cavern. Go through the door on the right and down the winding path instead to continue forward. Several corrupted shades may come into the worship hall to attack you, so be ready.
Head through the door straight ahead in the next room to enter another room with a chest with randomized loot and some tables with urns and potions. Loot everything, then take the hallway east. Corrupted shades will be on the ground floor and upper level of the chamber.
Take the wooden stairs on the far side of the chamber up to where there’s an arcane enchanter, an adept-locked iron door, and a gate. Pick the iron door to reveal a lever to open up the gate for a chest with random loot. Then turn around and cross the walkway to activate another one of Meridia’s pedestals.
Head back down to the ground floor and take the wooden stairs on the right to the upper floor leading to Killkreath Balcony. There’s nothing out here except for an expert-locked chest. Raid the content before going up the stairs and into the Killkreath Ruins.
Head inside the first chamber, then head to the far northwest corner with an altar with a desecrated corpse. Look to your right, and you’ll see a gold emerald ring on a plate. Go back to the entrance and take the wooden stairs to your immediate right. The first pedestal you need to activate is on your left. Activating it will unlock the iron door in the section to the east. Head through.
There’s an open pathway on the left and a wooden door on the right. The wooden door leads into a room with random potions on the shelves and a chest with random loot. Pause before heading inside the room as opening the door causes floor spikes to pop up.
Turn around and go through the open pathway, but watch for the tripwire around the corner as it activates a pendulum trap (The lever at the end of the hall can deactivate them).
Make your way through the caged walkway to the end, channel your inner Super Mario and jump onto the pillar to your left to activate the next pedestal, which opens up the iron door behind you. Jump back, cross the walkway and go around the edge of the upper platform to reach a bookshelf with a copy of The Battle of Red Mountain, a Block skill book. Here you’ll also find a novice-locked chest and some potions on the shelves.
Go through the iron door next to the throne and into the next chamber. The western stairs lead to minor loot, and the stairs to the east access a third pedestal. Activating it unlocks the iron door below, which leads into the Kilkreath Catacombs. Jump down and prepare yourself, as a boss fight is coming up.
Loot the treasure chest and burial urns, and pick up all the potions before activating Meridia’s final pedestal. Head through the door and down the stairs, and you’ll find Malkoran and eight or so corrupted shades in the shrine room.
Malkoran is a dangerous foe who uses Icy Spear and Ice Storm to attack the Dragonborn. Without some frost resistance, he can melt your health bar quickly. He rarely leaves the altar area, and the corrupted shades will flood the open doorway, making it hard for you to get a clear shot at Malkoran.
You can use this to your advantage by drawing the shades out of the shrine room and picking them off one at a time. When they’re all dead, Malkoran will have nothing to hide behind. The Malkoran boss fight consists of two parts. After killing him, he will resurrect himself as a shade, but he is much easier to defeat in this form.
After slaying Malkoran, Meridia will instruct you to take Dawnbreaker from its’ pedestal. Before doing so, make sure to loot every corpse and burial urn in the room. Once you take Dawnstar, you can never enter this room again.
If you tell a companion to wait in this room for some reason and claim Dawnbreaker, they’ll be trapped here forever. If you could get Nazeem from Whiterun as a companion, I’d say go for it. But since you can’t, don’t be cruel to your companions like that.
Channel your inner King Arthur and pull Dawnbreaker from its’ pedestal, and the screen will go white as Meridia once again whisks you up into the sky.
Meridia will proclaim you as the herald of the dawn and instruct you to take Dawnbreaker and wield it in her name as you purge the forces of darkness from Skyrim.
With that, Meridia will drop you back down to her statue, and The Break of Dawn is complete!
The Double Dawnbreaker exploit
It’s possible to leave this shrine with not one but two Dawnbreaker in hand. To achieve this, you need a rune spell or a storm scroll. The Unrelenting Force shout also works but is the most inconsistent.
When you enter the chamber, cast your rune spell or use your storm scroll on the side of the pedestal container Dawnbreaker. The explosion should send a copy of Dawnbreaker flying onto the ground. But approach the pedestal, and you’ll notice Dawnbreaker is still there.
Take the copy of Meridia’s legendary blade off the ground, then pull the true Dawnbreaker out of the pedestal, and congratulations. You can duplicate the power of the gods.
Is Dawnbreaker Good?
Dawnbreaker suffers from only being at its’ best while fighting undead. I prefer weapons strong against as many foes as possible, but Dawnbreaker isn’t half bad as a mid-game weapon. If you know that you’re going somewhere full of undead, there’s no harm in bringing Dawnbreaker (s) along to have some fun.
Plus, they look pretty darn cool when paired with Dwarven armor.
Question: What is the Elemental Fury shout?
Answer: Elemental Fury increases attack speed by 50, 75, and 100%, respectively. It works great in tandem with bows or slow melee weapons like warhammers or greatswords. It synergizes exceptionally well with dagger-wielding dual users.
Question: Why can you never reenter Meridia’s shrine room?
Answer: I guess after a necromancer spent who knows how long defiling her temple, she wants to keep mortals out for a while. Who can blame her?
Question: Can you betray Meridia during The Break of Dawn?
Answer: Not really. At most, you can tell Meridia at the end that you’re not wielding Dawnbreaker in her name, but she lets you keep it anyway.
Meridia’s Beacon Guide: Conclusion
I’ve always loved Daedric quests in the Elder Scrolls series, and I honestly wish we got some more depth for them. Morrowind has the Tribunal temple quests, and Oblivion has Knights of the Nine. But there’s no real religious faction questline in Skyrim.
In the next Elder Scrolls game, it would be awesome if we actually could spread the good word of a “minor” Daedric Prince and see it have an actual effect on the game world. Maybe acolytes of another Prince come to kill us because our actions have made their lord more obscure. Just have some fun with it, Bethesda.
Anyway, that’s one Daedric Prince quest down, but there’s plenty more to go. Time to get more religious artifacts to display in your house or use on your enemies.