Located in the north of Skyrim, between Dawnstar and Solitude in the Drajkmyr Marsh, Morthal is something of a strange town compared to others. Aside from the dreary atmosphere that puts even Falkreath to shame, a town known solely for its graveyard, there many depressing storylines that go on in Morthal, including the death of a young girl at the hands of vampires.
The town itself is also half-submerged in the river, with the main buildings at the center of the city elevated on stilts to keep them from sinking into the ground or being washed out to sea.
Unlike most other towns, Morthal lacks a general merchant and blacksmith altogether. What Morthal does have, however, is an apothecary, a town mage, and an inn. The apothecary, Thaumaturgist’s Hut, is located in the center of town just off the main thoroughfare and behind Highmoon Hall, the Jarl’s residence. Although the shopkeeper, Lami, specializes in alchemical products, she also sells various magical items, most likely to make up for the fact that there is no general store in Morthal.
Moorside Inn, despite its name, isn’t actually on the water like Thaumaturgist’s Hut but is behind the apothecary and beside Highmoon hall. There is very little going on inside the inn, though a handful of Dark Brotherhood assassinations can occur here, depending on who your targets are. The inn is also where you can start the Laid To Rest side quest, where you can discover what happened to Hroggar’s family and whether he was unfaithful to his wife or not.
Although not technically a merchant, you can employ the services of Falion, a local mage that isn’t trusted by anyone in Morthal, though he has some skills that few other mages have. Among other things, Falion specializes in vampirism and is the only character in the game who can remove the ailment without simply taking the werewolf form instead. By talking to him, you can instigate the side quest Rising At Dawn, where he will cure your vampirism in exchange for a filled Black Soul Gem, which can only be filled with the soul of a man or elven race.
While there isn’t much going on in Morthal, there is a fair amount of loot that you can find among the various houses and buildings. The Guardhouse not only has two chests with randomized loot inside but also has a copy of 2920, vol 06 – Mid Year, a Heavy Armor skill book, hidden in the main cell, which can be easily unlocked as it is only an Adept level lock.
There are many potions inside Highmoon Hall, most of which will count as theft if one is taken, though there are also a couple of books that can be found, including a copy of The Lusty Argonian Maid Vol 2, hidden at the end of the bed in Joric’s room. There is also a copy of The Locked Room, a Lockpicking skill book that tells the tale of lockpicking teacher being locked inside a room with a vampire by a disgruntled student.
In Thonnir’s house, there is a copy of Aevar Stone-Singer, a Pickpocket skill book, as well as Michaela’s Flagon, a unique item that has no real value or use outside of being a uniquely named miscellaneous item. Jorgen and Lami’s house also holds a One-Handed skill book, 2920, vol 01 – Morning Star, inside a bucket to the left of the bed, as well as being the location of the hilt of Mehrune’s Razor for the quest Pieces of the Past. Besides the skill book is also a unique item, Jessica’s Wine, though it also has little use outside of the effect you gain from drinking it to restore 5 points of stamina.
Falion’s house is yet another location for skill books, with the Enchanting skill book, Catalog of Armor Enchantments, and the Restoration skill book, 2920, vol 04 – Rain’s Hand, found here. Finally, there is a Destruction skill book, Response to Bero’s Speech, in the Thaumaturgist’s Hut on a shelf in the downstairs area.
Despite how desolate Morthal is in nearly every way, there are quite a few quests that can be started in this city. The most notable is Laid to Rest, which has you track down what happened to Hroggar and his family as well as getting to the bottom of the supposed vampire coven that lurks just outside of town. Once completed, Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone will make you Thane of Morthal and is one of the easiest ways to become a Thane in Skyrim.
The only other main quest that takes place in Morthal is Pieces of the Past, where you are tasked with finding all the broken pieces of Mehrune’s Razor in order to display it at a museum in Dawnstar. The hilt is found in Jorgen and Lami’s house and can either be bought, stolen, or brawled for in order to obtain it.
Two Dark Brotherhood quests are also completed here: the radiant quest Dark Brotherhood Forever and Contract: Kill Lurbuk. Both of these assassinations are fairly difficult to pull off, as both targets are out in the open the majority of the time, so any combination of stealth or Illusion magic will help to keep a low profile.
The biggest secrets in Morthal surround the presence of Morvath and his coven of vampires that hide just outside the city’s outskirts. As detailed in the book Immortal Blood, Morvath was once a hand-to-hand trainer for the Fighters Guild, though he left to become a vampire hunter across Tamriel. However, after a failed hunt in Cyrodiil, he returned to the man who had been giving him information on vampires only to discover that he was a vampire himself, being swiftly turned into a monster himself once he realized the true nature of his teacher.
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Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.
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