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Skyrim’s Abandoned Prison In Eastmarch Explained: What Happened?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim introduces players to a massive open world with dozens of areas to explore and structures to discover, many of which have story content sprinkled into their design. Skeletons, weapons, and books or notes can oftentimes be used to figure out the context of what might have happened in a certain area before the Dragonborn ever passed through.

The Abandoned Prison is one such location in Skyrim, and can be found in Eastmarch next to a waterfall along the White River. Players can find it near Fort Amol on their maps. The prison appears mostly collapsed, and it’s apparent that this is due to flooding.

Inside Skyrim’s Abandoned Prison, players can expect to find ghosts to fight and notes to read, and by reading through and examining the different areas of the prison they can begin to piece together what exactly lead up to this particular Elder Scrolls location becoming abandoned.

What Happened To The Abandoned Prison In Skyrim

There are two notes worth picking up and reading as Skyrim players traverse through the Abandoned Prison – Guard’s Orders and Prisoner’s Plan. The first note can be found on a desk in a separate room of the prison, and the second can be found near a skeleton on the ground. Both paint two vivid pictures of what the prison looked like when it was still occupied, as well as the events that lead to its collapse.

The Guard’s Orders explains that the prison guards were to evacuate before a storm took over the prison, noting that the entire tower would be washed into the river – but also stating to not let the prisoners out. Instead, they were to either be executed or left in the prison to drown. The Prisoner’s Plot, meanwhile, outlines the prisoner’s plans to overpower the guards and escape before the leaking inside the tower got any worse. Skeletons can be found outside, positioned next to a trap door, which does indicate that perhaps at least some were able to escape from their cells – but, clearly, they did not make it to freedom during the storm. The other skeletons remaining inside the prison – and the ghosts the player must fight through as they explore – are most likely the prisoners that were left behind when the guards evacuated the tower.

For a location without any proper quest attached, Skyrim‘s Abandoned Prison has a surprising amount of story content to be found there as a reward for curious players, and it is a very strong example of Bethesda’s environmental storytelling and lore building within The Elder Scrolls series.