College of Winterhold Quest: Revealing the Unseen

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You'll receive this quest at the conclusion of the quest Good Intentions.


When you track down Mirabelle Ervine (usually found in the college courtyard or in the Hall of Attainment) and ask her about the Staff of Magnus, she'll tell you that researchers from the Synod recently came to the college looking for it, and that they were next planning to search through the dwarven ruins at Mzulft. She'll then suggest that you hurry over to Mzulft so you can claim the staff before they do.

You'll find Mzulft far to the south of the college, near the town of Windhelm. Just inside the entrance to the ruins (Exit A), you'll discover a Synod researcher named Gavros Plinius dying on the ground, and he'll mumble something about a crystal, the Oculory, and another researcher named Paratus before taking his last breath. You'll need to loot Gavros' corpse for the Mzulft Key, which will allow you to proceed farther into the ruins.

To reach the Oculory (#6), you'll have to follow a mostly linear path through Mzulft and the Boilery, fighting dwemer automatons -- including spiders, spheres, and even a centurion (#3) -- and falmer soldiers along the way. The falmer soldiers won't drop much, but if you loot all of the automatons, then you should end up with a nice collection of soul gems by the end.

Near the Oculory you'll come to a pair of locked doors. To open the first one (#4), you'll need the Mzulft Observatory Key, which you'll find in a chest guarded by a centurion (#3). The centurion is tough, but it won't be able to fit through the doorway of the room it's in, and so you should be able to stand far away and ping it with spells or arrows until it dies.

At the second locked door (#5), you'll meet Paratus Decimius. Paratus will tell you that Gavros left the Oculory to fix a Focusing Crystal, but that he must have run afoul of the falmer on his way back. You'll find the missing crystal on a falmer in the room to the east (#2). When you show it to Paratus, he'll escort you to the Oculory (#6), which he'll explain is a machine that "collects starlight," and he'll tell you that it needs to be focused.

To focus the Oculory, you'll have to do three things:
  1. You'll need to activate the "dwarven armillary" (the gizmo holding the crystals in the center of the room). This will allow light into the chamber and cause three beams of light to emanate from the Oculory.

  2. You'll need to attenuate the Focusing Crystal by heating it up and / or cooling it down. You'll have to use spells for this, but you'll find a Spell Tome: Flames and a Spell Tome: Frostbite on the table behind the control panel (#7), just in case you need them. The idea for this stage is to heat up / cool down the Oculory to move where the beams of light are pointing. There are three rings in the dome that makes up the ceiling, and you'll need one beam of light to be pointing at each row. This might sound complicated, but it's not. If you equip Flames in one hand and Frostbite in the other, then it shouldn't take you too long to move the beams to the right place.

  3. You'll need to adjust three mirrors so the beams of light reflect back into the Oculory. To do this, you'll need to press the buttons on the control panel (#7). Each button will rotate one of the rings in the dome above you, which will also move one of the three mirrors. There isn't any trick or puzzle to this; you'll just need to press the buttons until the mirrors are in the right place.
Once the Oculory has been focused, Paratus will get all excited -- for a few moments at least, before he realizes that something is wrong -- and then he'll yell at you that an object at the college (the Eye of Magnus) is causing interference and disrupting his work. When you talk to Paratus and try to calm him down, he'll use the Oculory to display a map showing objects of power in Skyrim, and two locations will light up: the college and Labyrinthian. Paratus will then speculate that the Staff of Magnus must be in Labyrinthian.

Note: Paratus will also threaten to tell the Synod that the college is hiding objects of power. Nothing will become of this (Paratus won't ever leave Mzulft), so it won't make any difference if you kill him to keep him quiet.

As you make your way out of Mzulft, you'll run into Nerien of the Psijic Order again. He'll warn you that "trying times are ahead," and he'll encourage you to return to the college. When you get there, you'll discover (in the Hall of the Elements) that Ancano has raised a magical barrier around the Eye of Magnus and is keeping the mages out. Arch-Mage Aren will then ask you to help him and Mirabelle knock down the barrier, but you won't actually need to do anything. Aren and Mirabelle cwill get the job done by themselves.

When the barrier goes down, Aren and Mirabelle will confront Ancano, but Ancano will trigger some sort of magical explosion, knocking everybody away, and then he'll put the barrier back up again. You'll end up with Mirabelle, and she'll ask you to look for Aren while she deals with the barrier. This request will end the quest.

1 - Book

On the stone bed here you'll find the book The Lunar Lorkhan, which will increase your Alteration skill by 1.

2 - Falmer

Inside this chamber you'll encounter a few falmer. One of them will drop a Focusing Crystal.

3 - Centurion / Chest

4 - Locked Door

To open this door you'll need the Mzulft Observatory Key (#3).

5 - Locked Door

Paratus will open this door for you.

6 - Oculory

7 - Control Panel

  1. Front entrance.
  2. Doorway between Mzulft and the Boilery.
  3. Doorway between the Boilery and the Aedrone.
  4. Back exit. You'll need the Mzulft Observatory Key (#3) to open the door here.




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