This is a guide on how to complete Waking Nightmare, which is the Daedric quest tied to the Daedric Lord Vaermina. Completing this quest also brings you one step closer to unlocking The Pale Homestead if you have the Hearthfire DLC.
How to Start Waking Nightmare
To start this quest, first head to the major city of Dawnstar. Once you’re there head over to Windpeak Inn. Inside, you’ll hear a group of citizens complain about nightmares. Go listen in and you’ll learn that everyone in the town has been having re-occurring nightmares. After the priest Erandur gets everyone to calm down, go talk to him. He’ll state that the source of the nightmares is likely coming from a place called Nightcaller Temple, a place of worship for the Daedric Lord Vaermina. He will ask for your help in putting in end to it.
Clearing out Nightcaller Temple
Once you’ve agreed, you’ll need to follow Erandur to Nightcaller Temple. He’ll head out of the inn and up the hill towards the tower at the summit. Depending on your level, you’ll either be greeted by a couple of Ice Trolls or a handful of Frostbite Spiders. Once you’ve cleared the enemies outside of the temple, Erandur will explain some backstory regarding the miasma that’s set everyone to sleep inside the temple. Once you’ve spoken to him, follow him into the Temple where he’ll perform some magic to open a secret doorway into the main area of the tower.
As you follow the steps down, he’ll show you the Skull of Corruption, an artifact that Erandur believes is causing the nightmares. Nearby, you’ll notice two orcs awakening, you’ll want to take them out before they stand and begin attacking you! After dealing with them, Erandur will show you the forcefield that’s blocking the way to the Skull of Corruption. You’ll want to then follow him and head up to the library and clear out the priest and orc at the top, and two more priests at the bottom. Erandur will then ask you to find a book called The Dreamstride. Head up the steps and follow the wall around the room, using the broken pillars to make your way to the other side of the room where you’ll find a large pale blue book on a pedestal.
When you return the book to Erandur, he’ll ask you to fetch a liquid called Vaermina’s Torpor so you can use an ability called Dreamstride. Follow Erandur through to the laboratory. As you head towards it, you’ll encounter a handful of orcs waking up in a storage room. Don’t forget to use their brief waking up period to your advantage and take them out before they have a chance to attack!
Once you’ve defeated the orcs in the storage room, head through into the laboratory where you’ll find even more enemies - a few orcs and a couple of mages. If you wanted to, you could hide in the storage room as they wake up and let them fight each other for a bit. Then you could charge in and clean up the rest.
Use the quest marker to find the Torpor, which is just on one of the shelves on the back wall, but whilst you’re at it, be sure to raid the room for the abundance of alchemical ingredients and an alchemy skill book called Mannimarco, King of Worms. Once you’re done looting, grab the Torpor and return to Erandur. He’ll tell you to drink it and you can do so by accessing the potion in your inventory. Follow out the dream sequence (you can’t grab stuff or attack anyone) and release the miasma. After you do so, you’ll wake up in the real world and you’ll have been teleported to behind the magical forcefield.
Take the soul gem to take down the forcefield and clear the path for Erandur. You’ll need to continue through the tower, to reach the Skull of Corruption. Luckily, it is a fairly linear route, but there are numerous enemies waking up that you’ll need to deal with and you should also consider looting the room for more alchemical ingredients, potions etc.
At the end of your journey (down near the skull), you’ll have to face the two priests you saw in the dream. They’ll be a little tough to fight, but luckily Erandur is quite an adept fighter. Once you’ve defeated them, it may be worth looting their bodies since they have pretty decent weapons. There’s also a chest in the right hand alcove at the bottom of the steps leading up to the Skull of Corruption. Erandur will now start the ritual to remove the barrier. As he does so, you will hear Vaermina tell you that he’s going to betray you, and you should kill him and take the skull of corruption for yourself. This of course gives us two choices…
Kill Erandur or Let Him Live?
Let Erandur destroy the skull:
Don’t do anything! Let Erandur finish his ritual! He will end up destroying the skull. Afterwards, talk to him and you will complete this quest. The “reward” by taking this path is that you’ll be able to take on Erandur as your companion whenever you would like. He will reside at Nightcaller Temple should you need him.
Kill Erandur and take the skull:
To take this path, attack Erandur as he is performing the ritual. Keep attacking him and slay him (a sneak attack is VERY easy to pull off here). Be sure to loot him afterwards and claim the Skull of Corruption as your own. The Skull of Corruption staff does 2 damage but is also enchanted with the following: “20 points damage, increase to 50 if powered with dreams collected from sleeping people.”
Once you claim the staff, this quest will be over. This staff is one of fifteen Daedric Artifacts you need to collect for the Oblivion Walker trophy:
Collect 15 Daedric Artifacts