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The Mage Guild Quests (College at Winterhold)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Walkthrough and Guide

by Chris Boots-Faubert  

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The Mage Guild Quests (College at Winterhold)

The Mage Guild Quests are flagged by completing the Miscellaneous Quest Visit the College of Winterhold.

When you arrive in Winterhold head to the College where you will encounter Feralda blocking your way over the bridge.  Speak with her and answer her question honestly -- in other words do not admit to selfish motives...  This triggers the first quest in this Faction Line.

Why does this place remind me of Hogwarts?

You can scroll down this page of the guide to find all the quests in section or use the links below to jump to the specific quest you are interested in.

First Lessons
Under Saarthal
Hitting the Books
Good Intentions
Revealing the Unseen
The Staff of Magnus
The Eye of Magnus

First Lessons

Feralda demands that you cast the spell Healing Hands on her -- if you have it, cast it, if you do not, you need to buy a copy and read it so that you have the spell and can cast it!

Successfully casting the spell on her gains you admittance to the College and unlocks the Achievement "Gatekeeper" (10 GS).  Feralda then leads you across the bridge and into the College, where you speak with Headmaster Mirabelle Ervine, who welcomes you to the College.  She gives you your school uniform, and a tour of the College, on the way to your first class which is really just an abbreviated bull session.

Tolfdir asks a few questions of you to see what your magical position is -- just answer them honestly. You get to practice blocking spells with wards -- this part easily bugs so you need to not skip any dialogue, and do precisely what Tolfdir tells you to do.

Using the Ward Spell to take a few Fireballs from him completes this quest and flags the next.


Under Saarthal

This quest begins with meeting Professor Tolfdir outside of town at Saarthal -- so head over there now to hook up with him and the other students and follow him into the excavations, where you will be asked to find Arniel Gane.

You are basically serving as free labor at the dig -- if you find anything useful you are supposed to turn it over to him.  There are three rings and an amulet -- but when you take the amulet you end up trapped in the chamber.  To get out simply wear the amulet and then destroy the wall it was on with a Destruction Spell.

Tolfdir will show up and you will see a message from the long dead Nord mage.  Tolfdir did not see it but we tell him what we saw, and Tolfdir decides we should search the coffins.  Yeah, good idea...

So he opens a coffin and out pop three undead -- about what I was expecting -- and then we go into a secret room and battle more undead, before zoning deeper inside.  As you work your way in you will find an area of three small chambers with animal pillars on each side -- look above and behind them to see what they need to be set to, then set them and pull the lever to open the gate.

Go through the iron door and kill the Deathlord inside, and then look around to spot four more animal pillars with the correct animal above and behind -- but you need to take care with these as moving some causes the others to rotate -- before you pull the lever make sure they are all set right and, if any have been reset, change them back.  When you have all four set the way they are supposed to pull the lever and raise the gate!

Inside this area is an Alchemy Lab -- and the Professor finally joins us now too -- and when you move into the next chamber you encounter a large glowing sphere and the undead remains of Jyrik Gauldurson -- who you need to kill because he is one bad ass undead dood but you have to wait until the Professor drains the orbs power before you can actually damage him.  Make sure that you loot his body as it has an item from another quest on it -- a part of the Gauldur Amulet.

With that managed, go through the door behind the sphere and into the chamber beyond to find a Word Wall with a Shout Word we need to collect -- Flesh, Ice Form -- and be sure to loot the chest here as well before heading back to the other chamber and talk to the Professor, who asks you to run back to the College and get the Archmage.  Do that now.

Head out through the Word Wall Chamber and take the exit there, and then exit the ruins and fast travel to the College where you will find the Archmage in his quarters.  Savos Aren introduces himself, and goes on and on, and then you tell him your message.

The Archmage instructs you to speak with Urog gro-Shub, and the quest ends by flagging the next quest.


Hitting the Books

You will find Urog gro-Shub in the Arcaneum -- the Library basically -- and once you ask he will then ask you to help to recover some stolen books.  Speak with Othorn, an ex-apprentice at the College who is at Fellglow Keep.  Now that we know what we can learn from him, it is time to head there to speak with Othorn.

On the way out you are stopped by Arcano who demands answers!  He is something of a jerk and I do not blame you if you get evasive with him.  When he is done with us we should get going!

--== Fellglow Keep ==--

The first order of business is to speak with Othorn -- who we will find inside of the Dungeon -- which you have to battle your way through killing mages and undead in order to reach the actual entrance to the Keep.  In here you will find more mages to kill and the odd Storm Atronach -- and more mages until you reach the chamber above in this miserable little quest.

When you finally reach The Caller (a female mage) you let her know your reason for being there -- persuade her to give up the three books, and leave.

When you get back to the school (check out that sphere in the Atrium) and turn in the quest to the Librarian you are rewarded with a stack of Skill Books.  This ends the quest and flags the next one.


Good Intentions

Now we need to speak with Tolfdir again, and are treated to a lecture from him which we are obligated to follow him around and listen to...  Ancano interrupts, telling the Professor to get stuffed, and tells you to come with him. It seems that a representative from the Order is below -- and Ancano demands you cooperate with him.

When you get to the chambers of the Archmage this meddler goes in too -- but when Quaranir talks to you he has frozen time so that the others cannot listen in.  He reveals that the object (the Eye of Magnus) is a danger -- and he expects that you will deal with it.

He tells you to seek out the Augur of Dunlain -- that is all that he has to tell you -- ask the Archmage about the Augur and you get shut down...  Tolfdir is who you need to chat with, he will tell you where you need to go -- the Midden.  You know, a Midden is a garbage dump.

Thankfully the Midden is easy to reach -- just use the trap door in the courtyard.  

When you reach the door -- it is locked and you do not have the key -- the Augur opens the door for you.  It tells you that the event you are trying to prevent has already begun -- exhaust the conversation options and you learn that Arcano is a Thalmor!

You learn that you need to obtain the Staff of Magnus -- and tells you to take the word to the Archmage.  We had best do that now, and quickly!

When we brief the Archmage he is not exactly supportive or receptive -- but he does tell you to speak with Mirobelle which ends this quest and starts the next!  Well done!


Revealing the Unseen

When you speak with Mirobelle she tells you what she knows about the Staff, and the Synod who is also looking for it.  She confirms that nobody at the College knows the location -- but the Synod did mention the Dwarven Ruins...  And that is our next destination -- but before you go I have to warn you, this is a long and involved quest...  Be sure to ask if she knows anything else about the Staff then hit the road!

When you head into the main area of the ruins you will be battling the Dwarven mechs so be prepared.  Search the dead body on the entry hall for the key and a journal -- read the journal to get something of a clue...  Then head inside!

Among other things, there are veins of Moonstone in the ruins, and if you enjoy Smithing or have yet to master it, these are worth mining...  I did mention that this is a long and involved quest right?  This facility is HUGE, and if you are a loot whore you will be going in and out several times.

The researchers actually made it pretty deep into the ruins -- well, judging by the trail of bodies I mean -- but not far enough it seems.  When you get into the Aedrome one of the Fulmer will have a focusing crystal on them... Curious.

When you reach the last chamber and you do not have the key for the door do not panic.  Go through the door on the right (the locked one is the center one) to the and of that path and get the key from the chest then head back and open the door.  A little ways further is another locked door you do not have a key for but no worries because the sole surviving researcher opens it from the other side!

You have to break the bad news to him -- his buds are dead -- and the researcher Parotus Decimius is really bummed out.  We have good news for him though, because we have the crystal he needs!  He explains everything as you follow him to the machine and, after you place the focus crystal in it, asks you to work the controls.  No matter how you work them though, it does not work!

The Focus of the Focusing Crystal

Look behind you on the table and you will find two spell books for spells you probably already have...  Now why would those be here?  Hmmm.  What if we cast those spells on the crystals?  It is worth a try!

Use the two spells Fire and Frost to gently nudge the beams so that they are each in the center of one of the rings, and THEN rotate the rings and voila!  The beams now reveal a map displayed on the wall of below the controls!  Take a look!

Talk to the researcher again -- he is freaking out -- he wants to blame you.  Seriously.  You tell him about the Eye of Magnus and ask him to help you find the Staff.  He does not believe us -- but he does reveal the location of the Staff.  We need to head back to the school and report in to Savos now.

As we are leaving one of the Order appears to us and tells us to get back to the school quickly -- there is a quick exit through the doors on the right-side of the hall just past that researcher's camp -- so hit those and fast travel back to the school now!

When you report in you find that a disaster is unfolding -- the Tholan Spy has sealed himself in with the Eye and is using  it.  You help them blow down his force field using frost but then the world explodes ending the quest and unlock the Achievement "Revealing the Unseen" (10 GS)



The Tholan Spy has spawned magical creatures in the town and you need to help defend it from them!  Talk to Tolfdir and then head to the town and begin hunting down and killing the magical beings that Ancano has summoned.

Defending the Town

You will meet Faralda and Arniel on the way -- they will come with you to help -- each of the summoned creatures bodies has a filled soul gem on it so be sure to grab those...  And once you have killed all 10 -- and they take some killing -- head back to report what has happened!

Mirabelle seems pleased to learn that the town is safe, but what she wants is the Staff of Magnus. Now!

The Archmage gave her a pendant and mentioned the Labyrinthian to her when he gave it to her, so she gives it to you in the hopes that it will help your quest.  This ends the current quest and flags the next.


The Staff of Magnus

After you dump the stuff you want to keep at home, and re-supply, head for the Labyrinthian and equip the Pendant that she gave us, and go in.  Inside we find the spectral form of Savos and some of the other mages!  Listen to their conversation and it becomes obvious that we are seeing the past.

Inside after you raise the bars using the lever and go inside a large chamber you are confronted by a few skeletons and a skeletal dragon -- kill them and then you will find a carved tablet -- read it, and then listen to the spectral forms tell their tale.  Their foray into the dungeon did not go well it seems.

Head down the slope and through the door and work your way into the hall where another spectral attacks.  Use Flame to melt the ice blocking the door he came through then go inside and kill three undead before you follow the tunnels and find a room with an Alchemy and Enchanting Table in it.

Basically you want to reach the water below (without dying) and then follow the flow drop down and enter go through the tunnel to the chamber with the Frost Troll and kill it, and you will hear the voice and have your Magicka drained again.

Kill the undead and use the lever to raise the bars, then go inside the chamber and kill the summoned beasties before you battle the Wispmother (loot her she has Wisp Wrappings).  Another spectral will emerge and the door ahead will be blocked by fire -- kill him then cast Frostbite to open the door, entering the tunnel and opening the gate on the left for another episode of the history of what not to do...

As you enter the next area you hear the voice and your Magicka is drained again, then you face a Spectral Warhound, a few more spectrals, and then you zone into the Labrynthian itself.  There are some trap columns ahead -- you need to either remove or shoot the Soul Gems from them to disable them.

Obtaining the Staff of Magnus

A few more spectrals will attack you and your Magicka will be drained again as you reach a set of wooden doors -- go through and face more of the same.  You finally reach a Word Wall and learn the Word Sand, Slow Time.  Good on ya!

Continue along the path here and you will get your Magicka drained yet again before being ratpacked by some spectrals and skellies.  In the next chamber you get another episode of the Savos Show -- and then we go through the door and encounter a spectral enthralled wizard -- and kill it.  Head upstairs and do that again so that you release the spirit of Morokei -- and then kill HIM to loot the Staff of Magnus.

Have I said well done?  Good on ya!  You have done it!

Loot his mask while you are at it -- it has a good enchantment...  Now leave the chamber through the door in the back left for another episode in which you learn why it was so hard to get in here!  That pendant was the key because the Archmage sealed the dungeon off after his party was wiped on an expedition it seems.

Right, there is a shortcut out of here - the barred door - so use that and you encounter Estormo -- Ancano's mate -- go ahead and take pleasure in killing him, I know I did.  Now use the last barred door, go up the ladder, and fast travel back to the school to find them battling another summoned beastie.  Help out then talk to Tolfdir to learn that Mirobelle is dead.

Tolfdir shows you that the situation is dire, and the quest ends, starting the next one and last one.


The Eye of Magnus

Use the Staff of Magnus to remove the barrier and then head into the school, where Ancano is and engage him.  Basically the is this: he is drawing power from and being made invincible by the open eye.  You can use the Staff to close the eye, thus rendering him vulnerable to attack.  With the Eye closed, kill him quickly and anything he summoned!

After the battle talk to Tolfdir -- then speak with Quaronir -- then the Order takes the Eye and departs!

You unlock the Achievement "The Eye of Magnus" (30 GS) and Tolfdir makes you the Archmage -- Whaaaattt?  Well, it looks like we have a new home!

Well done on the Mage Faction Questline!  You have wrapped it up nicely!

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Comments for The Mage Guild Quests (College at Winterhold)

9 comments, latest first.
Apr 20th 2015 Guest
Plz help me how do I kill potema
ID #545559
Mar 14th 2015 Guest
981 characters left
ID #528300
Oct 9th 2014 Guest
ID #456615
Nov 11th 2013 Guest
how do i power up the magnus staff to close the eye?

ID #319059
Oct 16th 2016 Guest
You use soul gems
ID #687711
Aug 1st 2013 Guest
Is there anything to do with the area above the Arch-Mages Quarters on the roof?
ID #301991
Jan 16th 2013 Guest
stuck from finishing Mage Guild quest. Accidentally killed soldier in the village and keep being sent to the Chiller-some kind of ice prison or the people from the Winterhold college attack. When I escape the prison and try to go back to the college, they send me back to the Chiller again. Is this a glitch?
ID #243210
Dec 20th 2012 Guest
I'm having a problem with one of the bugs. After finishing revealing the unseen it never starts containment. Is there anyway to fix it without having to start a new game
ID #224843
Dec 27th 2011 Guest
Ok so when I finished speaking the the guy in midden about the staff then I went to the arch mage, he told me to speak to mirrable about the staff but I didn't get the quest start or if I go to her she don't know anything what do I do?
ID #99304