Skyrim:Snow Veil Sanctum

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SR-mapicon-Nordic Ruin.png
Nordic Ruin:
Snow Veil Sanctum
(view on map)
# of Zones 2
Clearable No
Dungeon Yes
Respawn Time Never (storage is safe)
Level Min: 6
Important Treasure
Three Thieves
Model Ship
Ice and Chitin
Console Location Code(s)
SnowVeilSanctumOrigin, SnowVeilSanctumExterior, SnowVeilSanctumExterior02, SnowVeilSanctum01, SnowVeilSanctum02
North-northeast of Windhelm
South of Bleakcoast Cave
Special Features
Word Wall Disarm
Just outside of the entrance, with the College of Winterhold in the background

Snow Veil Sanctum is a medium-sized Nordic ruin north-northeast of Windhelm containing draugr.

It contains two zones, Snow Veil Catacombs and Snow Veil Sanctum. It is locked and inaccessible prior to Speaking With Silence, during which it is the hideout of Karliah, a supposed murderer and betrayer of the Thieves Guild. It is full of leveled draugr, and at least one undead boss.

The second zone contains a word wall for the Disarm shout, making the related quest and its five prerequisite quests necessary to unlock all three words of Disarm.

[edit] Related Quests

[edit] Exterior

There is an alternative entrance to the northwest, but the way is blocked by an impassable gate until you've completely gone through the ruin from the main entrance.

Provided you are here for the related quest, there will be a tent, bed roll and Karliah's dead horse to the south. Mercer Frey will be in front of the barrow entrance and will initiate conversation as you approach. Only Mercer can unlock the door into the ruin, and only Mercer will be able to follow you inside.

[edit] Snow Veil Catacombs

The interior of this ruin is filled with traps set by Karliah for Mercer Frey, including bone chimes to wake the draugr she also left for you to deal with.

Upon entering, as with many other ruins, you'll be at the top of a set of narrow stairs. Head down and head through the first room (which contains nothing of consequence) and down some more stairs. The next room has several urns, a dead draugr, a pull chain, a chest, and two ominous standing coffins. Opening the chest triggers the coffin lids to fall down and draugr to attack. Two gates are on the north wall; pull the chain on the south wall to raise one as the other is stuck and leads nowhere. The now-raised gate is to an alcove with two potions and a coin purse on a set of shelves. The door to the east leads to the next room.

The pull chain to raise the gate here lies next to a spiked wall trap. Predictably, the wall will trigger once you pull the chain. Three dead draugr lie on the floor in the middle of the room. Two more are in the coffins, one beside an only-sleeping draugr on the east wall. This one will only wake if you attack it.

Further along are catacombs, where two draugr sleep in alcoves. A locked door is on the right as you go through; four potions and a couple weapons are in this alcove. Past three bear traps, a draugr patrols the corridor. Another draugr sleeps in an alcove, and three more are ahead. If one awakens the others likely will as well. When Mercer comments again, beware of the tripwires rigged to an oil lantern, which will fall onto a slick and cause an explosion. A chest lies on the east wall, and two more draugr are in alcoves nearby. The pull-chain to raise the next gate is to the left, in an alcove.

The Model Ship

Immediately ahead after the gate opens is another locked door, leading to a small room with several urns, a chest, and an opening in the wall where you can snipe at the draugr swarming in a room ahead. The room to the left of the locked door contains four sleeping draugr and many bone chimes which will awaken them. The southeastern corner of the room has a table with the Sneak skill book Three Thieves and three potions. Another gate leads further on; the chain is to the right.

Descend into a large room, the same one you may have observed through the opening in the wall earlier. Two draugr stand on a raised area straight ahead and a third will burst from its coffin as you come down the corridor even if you are sneaking. Once a draugr detects you, the entire room (and the skeevers in the corridor beyond) may descend on your head, so be prepared for a tough fight even with the invincible Mercer Frey at your disposal - if the draugr are capable of shouting, they can knock him down long enough for them to turn their focus to you.

Once the room is cleared, there is some loot to be found. It is up a flight of stairs across from where you entered the room. The Model Ship, an item for the quest The Litany of Larceny, is located on a pedestal up here. It is in an alcove with an explosive fire trap and may be difficult to find if the explosion is set off before you grab it, since it may end up being blown behind the nearby shelves or out into the main hall. The potions on the shelves nearby may also be flung away.

On the west side of the main hall, more steps lead up and around to the door to the next zone.

[edit] Snow Veil Sanctum

A barnacle cluster out of water...

The Sanctum starts out as a catacomb-like area, where draugr rest in "bunks". Two are on the left and another on the right as you enter. Oddly enough, a barnacle cluster is on the floor directly in front of you as well. Down the stairs, a draugr patrols the hallway, and two more rest in alcoves on either side. Two chests, one locked, are also in the alcoves, but beware the bone chime strings that will alert every draugr in the vicinity. Yet another draugr sleeps past the alcoves. At the end of the hallway, several unlootable urns are propped up on the other side of a gate; when you pull the chain the urns will tumble back and may land on a pressure plate that will send poison darts at you from the walls.

A leveled draugr is up ahead, then a flight of stairs. Two burnt corpses and a dead draugr are here. Turn south to see a set of double doors up ahead. Open them to discover that more urns were propped up against it as well; these will tumble too and awaken two draugr (one of them a boss; at higher levels it may be a dragon priest) in coffins on the upper level of the room. Two more are in standing coffins to the east and the west. On a table underneath the north set of stairs is the Light Armor skill book Ice and Chitin. A boss chest is on the upper level and the Word Wall is on the south wall. The east draugr will awaken when you approach the gate near it; the pull chain is to the right of the gate.

Next up is a Nordic puzzle door with a couple bear traps in front of it. The claw for it does not exist in-game, but Mercer will unlock it for you. Past the gate is a cutscene.

Should you return after the events of Speaking with Silence, you can traverse the ruin again and pull the chain in the final room of the Sanctum to unlock the alternate entrance. The only thing in the final room after the quest will be a skeleton on the floor that you can loot.

[edit] Notes

  • Even after finishing the quest, followers will not join you inside.
  • There is a stone platform west-northwest of the entrance to the Sanctum with an inaccessible grate-covered well in the center of it. Two ice wraiths will periodically spawn here, and can often be seen fighting with a frost troll that spawns nearby.

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