Skyrim: How To Get Shadowmere

Quick Links

  • Who Is Shadowmere?
  • How To Get Shadowmere
  • Starting "A Cure For Madness"

There are numerous companions to recruit in Skyrim, and while horses aren't exactly followers, they're an extra creature that can aid you on your adventure. You can buy horses at the stables in the lands of Skyrim, and there are even a few horses you can earn by completing specific quests.

Speaking of horses, Shadowmere is one of the strongest ones in the game, but he's also the most difficult steed to get your hands on in the base adventure. It's worth gaining Shadowmere's affection, even if you don't plan to ride him often.

Who Is Shadowmere?

Shadowmere is a unique horse that belongs to the Dark Brotherhood. He appears in Oblivion and makes his return in Skyrim as a gift Astrid gives you during the "A Cure For Madness" quest.

Shadowmere is the strongest horse in Skyrim. Not only will he aid you in combat, but he has 1,637 HP and 198 Stamina. These stats make this creature significantly more powerful than the other horses in the base game.

Can You Upgrade Shadowmere?

Unfortunately, you can't upgrade Shadowmere or improve any of his abilities. However, his health is already very high, so he's unlikely to die.

How To Find Shadowmere If He Disappears

If you're regularly riding this horse and he disappears, it's possible he's dead. However, due to Shadowmere's high HP, it's more likely that a glitch is the culprit. This horse has a history of disappearing under unusual circumstances, so you should save often while using him as your horse.

If you can't find Shadowmere, then reload previous save files until he appears next to you when you fast travel. You can also use the in-game wait feature for a few days to see if he reappears, which is a solution that works for many players.

How To Get Shadowmere

Below you'll find every step you need to complete to find and ride Shadowmere. You need to join the Dark Brotherhood, then progress until the "A Cure For Madness" mission.

Joining The Dark Brotherhood

The first thing you need to do to get the desired horse is to enter the Dark Brotherhood. The quickest way to do this is by traveling directly to Honorhall Orphanage in Riften and killing Grelod The Kind. You don't get a bounty for killing her, even if there are multiple witnesses.

Next, travel to Windhelm and find Aventis Aretino inside the Aretino Residence, which is the building in the picture below. The house is on the right side of Windhelm's main entrance. Tell Aventis that Grelod is dead, and he'll express gratitude since he was trying to contact the Dark Brotherhood to kill her for him. After this exchange, leave the Aretino Residence and sleep in a bed, such as one of the beds inside any Inn throughout Skyrim.

You'll wake up inside the Abandoned Shack, and Astrid, the leader of the Dark Brotherhood, will begin speaking to you. She'll request that you kill one of the three hostages in the room. There's no correct hostage to kill. You can kill any of the three, including all of them.

After killing one, speak to Astrid again, and she'll tell you the location of the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. The location of the sanctuary will appear as a quest marker on your map.

Upon entering the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary near Falkreath, Astrid will welcome you into the faction, and you can start completing contracts for the Dark Brotherhood questline. You can learn more about how to join or destroy the Dark Brotherhood in this guide.

Complete Dark Brotherhood Quests

After joining the Dark Brotherhood, you'll need to complete multiple quests before you can ride Shadowmere. Each of these has quest markers, so you'll know where to go during the missions and which Dark Brotherhood members to speak to upon completion of your tasks.

Some of the quests you receive between joining the Dark Brotherhood and starting "A Cure For Madness" are optional, but many of them are essential for the progression of the Dark Brotherhood's storyline, which is why they're mandatory. Below, you'll find the full list of quests you have to complete before starting "A Cure For Madness," in the order that the Dark Brotherhood assigns them to you.

  • With Friends Like These…
  • Sanctuary
  • Mourning Never Comes
  • Whispers In The Dark
  • The Silence Has Been Broken
  • Bound Until Death
  • Breaching Security

Starting "A Cure For Madness"

Once you start "A Cure For Madness," you need to speak with Gabriella inside the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. Next, talk to Astrid, and after explaining that there was an incident involving Cicero, she'll request that you search his room for clues. A quest marker will direct you towards the correct room.

You'll find "Cicero's Journal – Final Volume" in his room, which will reveal that he went to the Dawnstar Sanctuary. Return to Astrid and tell her what you learned. Now Astrid will instruct you to track Cicero to the Dawnstar Sanctuary and kill him, but not before gifting you Shadowmere.

Shadowmere will be waiting directly outside the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. He'll rise out of the nearby pond. Upon riding Shadowmere for the first time, you get to keep him for the rest of your playthrough.

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