Skyrim:No One Escapes Cidhna Mine
- Complete The Forsworn Conspiracy and go to jail.
- Brawl, bribe, and/or lie your way into a meeting with Madanach.
- Follow Madanach's instructions and escape with the rest of the prisoners, or kill Madanach and escape on your own.
After completing the quest The Forsworn Conspiracy and choosing to go to jail, you will arrive in Cidhna Mine. Here Urzoga gra-Shugurz tells you that you will have to mine for your freedom. Your journal will inform you that you must find Madanach, also known as the King in Rags, to help clear your name. Head through the gate, walk down the wooden platform, and talk to the miner, Uraccen, sitting by the fire. Uraccen will say that you won't be able to speak with Madanach unless you can get past his bodyguard, the Orc Borkul the Beast. Uraccen can entertain you with a story of one of Borkul’s exploits before you go speak with him. Borkul is guarding one of the three gates in this room. When you ask Borkul to see Madanach, Borkul tells you that the toll for entry is a shiv. As alternatives to his request, you can brawl with him, intimidate or persuade him, or pickpocket the key from him.
|I don't have a shiv.||Then find one. That dung heap Grisvar's been known to make a few.||Find a shiv|
|Here's your shiv.||All right, head on in. But don't try anything in there. Madanach is smarter than you think.||Pass the door|
|Madanach is expecting me. (Persuade)||Passed: Hmph. Fine. Go on in. But don't try anything in there. Madanach knows more than you think.
Failed: The only thing Madanach expects is a bottle of Skooma in tribute every so often. You're not getting through.
|Passed: Pass the door
|How about some skooma instead? (Bribe)||Passed: Ah, now that's a good idea. Head on in. But don't try anything in there. Madanach is smarter than you think.||Passed: Pass the door|
|Let me through, pig-face. (Intimidate)||Passed: Those eyes. All right, killer, go on through. But don't try anything. Madanach knows more than you think.
Failed: That's what I was hoping you'd say.
|Passed: Pass the door
Failed: Turn hostile
|How about I fight you for it? (Brawl)||Brawl: That's what I was hoping you'd say.
|I'll pay the toll later.||That's right. Turn around and leave.||Nothing|
|I need some. Badly. (Persuade)||Passed: Getting the shakes, huh? All right. Take it. Old gods keep you.
Failed: Skooma addict. Get lost.
|Passed: Get the skooma
|Hand over the skooma. (Brawl)||Passed: Easy there. I didn't mean nothing. Take it.
Brawl: That's it.
|Passed: Get the skooma
Bring the skooma to Grisvar, who will give you the shiv. If you want to keep the shiv, then you can still attempt the alternatives to completing Borkul's request. You can pickpocket an additional bottle of skooma from Duach and bribe Borkul with it.
Alternately, you can also start a battle with the Forsworn prisoners (attack anyone but Grisvar). This locks you into killing Madanach, as he becomes hostile. This fight can be difficult; you have no armor, no enchantments, and your only non-conjured weapons are pickaxes and possibly shivs. Once you've won, loot the key off Borkul's body, and proceed to kill Madanach per the next section.
The King in Rags
Once you get past the Orc, you will see Madanach sitting at a desk. He will direct some disparaging remarks at you regarding your predicament, and ask you what you want. Here, you can take one of two paths: take your revenge, or find your answers. If you seek revenge, you can kill Madanach here (or at any time) and then escape on your own. If you want a fair fight, you can tell him you plan to kill him; otherwise, just attack him. Attacking him will make all of the other prisoners hostile (except Grisvar), but as long as they are out of range, they will not rush in to join the fight. Search Madanach's body for a key and a note, then unlock the gate and exit the prison.
If you seek answers instead, Madanach will direct you to Braig, another prisoner, to hear his story of injustice. After you have convinced Braig to tell his story, return to Madanach. You will see a different side of Madanach, and the horrors that drive his purpose. He tells you he wants to return to the war and will help you escape as well, but only if you prove your loyalty to him by killing Grisvar the Unlucky. If you gave your shiv to Borkul, you can get a new one from Madanach at this point. Find Grisvar and kill him. If you tell him that, "Madanach says hello", Grisvar will eventually become hostile and the other inmates will attack him. Once he's dead, return to Madanach, who will declare you an honorary member of the Forsworn and lead the prisoners to the escape tunnel.
After a short speech, follow Madanach and the Forsworn through the tunnel to Markarth Ruins. As you make your way through the ruins, you will encounter first a pair of frostbite spiders, then one or two Dwarven Spheres. If you're on your own, you can sneak off the bridge onto the floor below, as fighting alone will be quite difficult without any of your normal equipment. Once past the automatons, continue through the ruins until you reach a short tunnel that leads to a door to Markarth. If you are on your own, and have killed Madanach, when you exit the gates Thonar will return your equipment and give you the Silver-Blood Family Ring.
If you sided with Madanach, a Forsworn woman named Kaie will be there to return your confiscated goods and give you the Armor, Boots, Gauntlets, and Helmet of the Old Gods. The Forsworn will all equip their own armor and run out. When you follow them through the door, you will emerge into a skirmish between the Forsworn and Thonar Silver-Blood, accompanied by a Markarth City guard. After a short conversation, Madanach and the Forsworn will attack and kill Thonar, then fight their way through the rest of the city guard to the gates. Note that some of the townsfolk may be hostile to the Forsworn and can be killed during the breakout. To avoid collateral damage, wait in the tunnel until midnight before exiting out to the city, then no one except for the guards will be present.
Outside the city walls, Madanach and any remaining Forsworn will then run to Druadach Redoubt, where they will take up permanent residence. Madanach's Forsworn at Druadach Redoubt will remain friendly to you if you sided with him. No matter which approach you used, you will be pardoned.
It is possible to obtain both the Armor of the Old Gods and the Silver-Blood Family Ring, but may prove difficult for lower-leveled players to survive, as well as keeping Thonar alive:
- Run through the ruins with Madanach and acquire the Armor of the Old Gods.
- Keep him engaged in dialogue to stall him as the other Forsworn escape.
- Kill Madanach. The Forsworn will attack you once you exit.
- Talk to Thonar after the Forsworn are taken care of and receive the Silver-Blood Family Ring.
Townsfolk will speak of how you escaped with the Forsworn and act as if Madanach escaped, however.
If you finish the quest this way, Borkul the Beast will not be hostile with the rest of the Forsworn, and attacking him will incur a bounty. After talking to Thonar, he will be kneeling as if bleeding out.
Another possible way to obtain both the Armor of the Old Gods and the Silver-Blood Family Ring is to: 1. Run through the ruins with Madanach and acquire the Armor of the Old Gods. 2. As the Forsworn are leaving, attack one of them, leading them to become hostile. 3. Kill the Forsworn and simply exit.Thonar will act as if you had escaped by yourself and present you with the Silver-Blood Family Ring.
- If you side with Madanach, he gives you all your non-quest items at the exit of the ruin. You will receive all your quest items after Madanach has finished his dialogue with Thonar and started fighting.
- Your stolen items will be returned.
- Once either Madanach or Thonar returns your items to you, then individuals will act as if you helped that individual, regardless of whether or not you killed him after receiving your items.
- If you don't kill Madanach, you can follow him and his men after escaping Markarth. They will lead you to Druadach Redoubt, a Forsworn encampment and cave that is now friendly.
- Escaping from Cidhna Mine during this quest does not add to "Jail Escapes" statistic, nor will it grant you the Wanted achievement.
- The inhabitants of Cidhna Mine are all scripted to die if you decide to kill Madanach in his cell and escape from the mine alone.
- This quest counts towards the Sideways achievement regardless of whether you choose to help or kill Madanach.
- Vigilant Tyranus, required for the quest The House of Horrors, will never sleep and will thus attempt to attack the Forsworn. As he is essential but weak, he can get stuck in a fight and thus cause the battle to last much longer than necessary, so it is advised to begin his quest in order to remove him from the streets.
- Even if you side with Madanach, Forsworn you encounter in locations other than Druadach Redoubt will be hostile.
- The Markarth Ruins remain accessible after this quest; however you cannot sneak back into the mine this way as the way back into Madanach's cell is closed off.
- If you are doing one of Delvin's and/or Vex's special jobs, and you trigger this quest before you report back to them, you will be told you have failed the Thieves Guild quest when you return to them, because you were arrested.
- When your items are returned, if you have the quest Alduin's Bane active, you may not get the Elder Scroll back, thus breaking the main quest.
- Loading a previous save can fix this.
- If you side with Madanach, when your items are returned by Kaie, ALL your quest items may be missing. Exiting the Markarth ruins to Markarth proper (through the door that's right in front of you at this point) should return your missing quest items.
- Sometimes, the quest will not start or progress. The quest may also notify you that a stage is complete without updating your journal. Specific instances include the following:
- The quest's beginning, fixed by the console command
setstage MS02 10.
- Escaping the mine with Madanach, fixed by the console command
setstage MS02 100, using the console command
kill 000198e6(Thonar), or by casting a Fury spell on Thonar.
- The quest's beginning, fixed by the console command
- If you pickpocket the note from Madanach, then later kill him, the quest will update to 'Search Madanach's body' (stage 200), but even when you loot all items, it will not progress to the next stage, 'Read Madanach's note'.
- To fix, place Madanach's note back on his body, and pick it up again.
- If you have read Madanach's note at any stage before looting it as part of the quest, the quest will not update further. Fixed by reloading an earlier save.
- There is a dead body in the water in Markarth. A Forsworn may raise him during the battle in the city, and the resultant ash pile of him may never be cleared. The same thing may happen to Thonar's body.
- Entering and exiting the ruins right behind you while Madanach and Thonar are talking will cause Madanach and the Forsworn to disappear and no one will have died.
- You may not be pardoned when the quest ends, leading to very confused guards who don't have a jail to put you in.
- If the quest Rebel's Cairn is active, then during the jail term, Red Eagle's Fury will be equipped; it is not shown in your inventory but can be used.
- Killing everyone in the mine prior to this quest will cause the quest to be uncompletable, as the mine does not respawn.
- There seems to be no way to intimidate Borkul. The Brawl option will always display, even though it should only show up if your Intimidate check fails.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.5 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
- Even though the guards say you are going to Cidhna Mine forever, mining ore may still get you out normally, as if you had served your time.
- If you kill Madanach and escape by yourself, Thonar may attack you on sight but you won't be able to kill him.
- To fix this, cast a Calm spell on him.
- another way to fix this is to run away until you are able to fast travel. Wait 24 hours and then return to escape exit point, Thonar should be calm and complete the quest.
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 20, 55, 75, 77, 80.