Skyrim: How to Get the Sword Dawnbreaker

Updated on November 19, 2016

What’s More Fun than Blasting Undead into Piles of Smoldering Ash?

One of the best early-game weapons in Skyrim is the magical sword Dawnbreaker. Dawnbreaker is an enchanted one-handed sword that is devastating against the undead—particularly Draugr and Vampires. It’s not too bad against regular foes either dealing 10pts of fire damage per strike, plus an effect called Meridia’s Retribution which does 1 pt of damage to the target for 10 seconds. Against the undead there is a chance on each strike that the sword will cause a fiery explosion that will either wipe out all undead in the area of the blast zone, reducing them to a pile of smoldering ash, or send them fleeing away from the player on fire. (Please note: Your character must be at least level 12 for this quest to launch. My definition of ‘early-game’ is Level 1-20.)

As your character reaches higher levels, you will probably opt to use other more powerful weapons, but at lower levels—up to level 20 or so—Dawnbreaker is not only one of the best weapons available, but also one of the most fun to use. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself seeking out ancient Nord tombs just so you can run about blasting the poor Draugr and watching them flee from you like you’re the Terminator. For my gaming dollar, hunting undead with Dawnbreaker is some of the most fun you’ll have in the game. Trust me on this. Do yourself a favor and head over to the Statue of Meridia located in Northwest Skyrim. The statue is located on Mount Kilkreath which is due south of Wolfskull Cave. The easiest way to get there is to take the road west from Solitude. You’ll eventually see a side road heading north. Take this side road and after a while you’ll come to another small side road to the right which will lead you straight to the Statue of Meridia. As you ascend the steps up to the statue, the Daedric lord Meridia will speak to you thus initiating the quest The Break of Dawn. This quest can also be started if one happens to find Meridia’s Beacon, inside a treasure chest. Meridia’s Beacon is known to spawn automatically at a number of locations throughout Skyrim, but these locations are generated randomly, so if you haven’t discovered the item in a chest during your adventuring, the easiest way to launch the quest is simply by visiting the statue.

Statue of Meridia
Statue of Meridia

Once the quest starts Meridia tells you to retrieve her beacon (if you don’t have it already). She’ll direct you to the location where it can be found. With beacon in hand, return to the statue place the beacon in the gem pedestal at the base of the statue. Meridia will speak to you again and tell you that a necromancer named Malkoran has occupied and defiled her temple. If you cleanse her temple of undead and slay Malcoran, she promises to reward you well. The reward for completing this quest is Dawnbreaker. Once you enter Kilkreath Ruins, you need to activate all the pedestals which will allow Meridia’s light to cleanse the temple of undead. The only foes you will encounter are corrupted shades. In the Kilkreath Catacombs you will find Malkoran. Once you have slain Malcoran you will find Dawnbreaker on a pedestal. Claim Dawnbreaker, and Meridia will teleport you out of the temple and back to the surface. Here's a detailed walk-through of this quest.

Dawnbreaker can be improved at a forge up to Exquisite level. Improving Dawnbreaker requires an ebony ingot, though Dawnbreaker itself is not considered an ebony weapon, and thus, does not benefit from the ebony smithing perk. However, Dawnbreaker can only be improved past Exquisite Level by the use of various Fortify Smithing items—rings, potions, gauntlets etc. One of the best ways to use Dawnbreaker is as one of your weapons in dual-wielding mode. A potent dual-wielding combo is to use Dawnbreaker simultaneously with The Pale Blade. Up to level 30 or so, this combo is devastating versus most opponents. To obtain the Pale Blade, a legendary enchanted sword that delivers a blast of cold, saps opponent stamina, and sends them fleeing in fear please see the article:

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