Table of Contents
- 1) Controls
- 2) Main Quest Walkthrough
- 2.1) Unbound
- 2.2) Before the Storm
- 2.3) Bleak Falls Barrow
- 2.4) Dragon Rising
- 2.5) The Way of the Voice
- 2.6) The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
- 2.7) A Blade in the Dark
- 2.8) Diplomatic Immunity
- 2.9) A Cornered Rat
- 2.10) Alduin's Wall
- 2.11) The Throat of the World
- 2.12) Elder Knowledge
- 2.13) Alduin's Bane
- 2.14) Season Unending
- 2.15) The Fallen
- 2.16) The World-Eater's Eyrie
- 2.17) Sovngarde
- 2.18) Dragonslayer
- 3) The Companions
- 4) The College of Winterhold
- 5) The Thieves Guild
- 6) The Dark Brotherhood
- 6.1) Innocence Lost
- 6.2) With Friends Like These
- 6.3) Sanctuary
- 6.4) Mourning Never Comes
- 6.5) Whispers in the Dark
- 6.6) The Silence Has Been Broken
- 6.7) Bound Until Death
- 6.8) Breaching Security
- 6.9) The Cure for Madness
- 6.10) Recipe for Disaster
- 6.11) To Kill an Empire
- 6.12) Death Incarnate
- 6.13) Hail Sithis!
- 7) Daedric Quests
- 7.1) The Black Star
- 7.2) Boethiah's Calling
- 7.3) A Daedra's Best Friend
- 7.4) Discerning the Transmundane
- 7.5) Ill Met By Moonlight
- 7.6) The Cursed Tribe
- 7.7) Pieces of the Past
- 7.8) The Whispering Door
- 7.9) The Break of Dawn
- 7.10) The House of Horrors
- 7.11) The Taste of Death
- 7.12) The Only Cure
- 7.13) A Night to Remember
- 7.14) The Mind of Madness
- 7.15) Waking Nightmare
- 8) Version History
Basic Controls (360)
B: Character Menu
X: Draw/Sheathe Weapon
RB: Power/Dragon Shout
LT: Attack/Block/Cast (Left Hand)
RT: Attack/Cast (Right Hand)
LS: Click to Sneak
RS: Click to Toggle First-Person/Third-Person
START: Pause Menu
BACK: Wait Menu
UP/DOWN: Favorites Menu
Basic Controls (PS3)
O: Character Menu
Square: Draw/Sheathe Weapon
L1: Attack/Block/Cast (Left Hand)
R1: Attack/Cast (Right Hand)
R2: Power/Dragon Shout
R3: Toggle First-Person/Third-Person
START: Pause Menu
SELECT: Wait Menu
UP/DOWN: Favorites Menu
The player begins the game as a prisoner, as is customary in Elder Scrolls games. You'll be on a prison wagon and unable to move until you reach your destination. Joining you is Ulfric Stormcloak, an infamous anti-Imperial rebel, along with two less important NPCs, the rebel Ralof and the thief Lokir. When the wagon arrives in Helgen and you get off, wait until after the scene, then step forward when called upon to create your character.
Character creation in Skyrim is simpler than in any Bethesda RPG before. You can still fully customize your character's appearance and name, but as for gameplay elements, you no longer choose a birthsign or a class. Your starting stats depend purely on your selected race, so your character's specialty mostly depends on what skills you choose to use in the first place.
After the first prisoner is executed, just before your own execution can take place, a dragon will appear and knock everyone down with a Dragon Shout, then begin torching the place. Lucky you. Follow that Ralof guy to the keep, then when part of the wall comes crashing down, jump across to the destroyed inn.
Drop through the floor and head outside to meet up with Hadvar, an Imperial soldier that will offer you a more positive impression of the Empire. Follow him through the burning town, though you won't be able to do anything because your hands are literally tied.
When you come to the keep, you'll be faced with a choice: side with the empire and follow Hadvar, or follow Ralof to side with Ulfric the Stormcloak rebels. Your choice will affect the path of this particular mission, but you can still change allegiances later on, so choose whichever one you want. You will receive the same achievements regardless of which group you ultimately side with.Empire Path
Follow Hadvar and he will release your restraints. Search the barracks for items, specifically the warden's chest, which contains Imperial armor and a sword, as well as the HELGEN KEEP KEY. Equip the weapons and armor from your character menu.
Search the room for any other items, if you think you'll have a use for them. On the other hand, you may wish to collect valuable items to sell once you get out of here. Approach the wooden gate and Hadvar will open it. In the next room, open the gate and the Stormcloaks will attack you. Kill them and search their corpses, as well as the corpse of someone named Gunjar.Stormcloak Path
Follow Rolof into the keep and he will release your restraints after discovering the corpse of his fallen comrade, Gunjar. Search his corpse for Stormcloak armor and a handaxe. Equip these from the character menu.
Check the exits, and Rolof will notice some Imperials approaching. Fight these Imperials along with Rolof, then collect the HELGEN KEEP KEY from the captain's body. Before unlocking the gate to the west in order to proceed, head into the area the Imperials came from and search for items in the chests.
Follow your companion until the ceiling crashes down, forcing you to head through the door on the left. Inside are two foes, whom you can sneak up upon for a sneak attack. Collect any desired gear from their bodies, then check the barrel they were investigating for some basic potions. There's also another potion on the table and a pile of salt, a basic ingredient in both cooking and alchemy. As these are all basic items that can be found anywhere in the game, there is little purpose in listing all of them.
Other items you can find are various types of produce, which can be eaten for a tiny health boost or cooked into a meal for a more substantial bonus. The same goes for the hanging animals, whose raw meat can be harvested and cooked to greatly increase its healing. Grab as many weapons, armor, potions, food, ingredients, and keys as you have use for, as these items are valuable commodities. A very useful alchemy ingredient, Rock Warbler Eggs, can also be found if you look into one of the baskets. Items you should pass up include baskets, buckets, bowls, tankards, pots, silverware, and basically anything else of a decorative nature with a low value.
Head out the opposite door to get to the other side of the rubble in the hallway. Down in the dungeon, some Stormcloaks and Imperials will be fighting. After said fight, collect the slain participants' belongings. On a small table nearby is the Book of the Dragonborn, which has no function but certainly makes for an interesting read. You can always read it and choose not to take it with you.
Optionally, you can try out your lockpicking skill by attempting to unlock the cages here, using the lockpicks you receive from your friend. The lockpick minigame is the same as that of Fallout 3: turn the left stick to search for the correct angle, then move the right stick to test that position. The extent to which the lock turns demonstrates how close to the correct location you are. It's a fairly easy minigame, which greatly reduces the usefulness of the lockpick skill.
Inside the central cage is a corpse with NOVICE HOOD and NOVICE ROBES, both useful items that benefit your Magicka, as well as some gold and SPELL TOME: SPARKS, which will teach you a lightning spell. TO actually use the spell, you must activate the spellbook from your items menu, which will consume the book but add the spell to your magic menu. Certainly, this loot is not worth passing up.
Proceed through the next hall, and pick the lock on the second cell on your right to collect some gold and loot a skeleton for bonemeal, a useful alchemical ingredient. Note that the new alchemy system in Skyrim relies on discovering ingredient effects, which will be stored and displayed when you select the ingredient. The first of each ingredient's four effects can be discovered by consuming the ingredient, which is usually harmless. Only with rare ingredients that can't be wasted on consumption should you forgo this test.
Proceed into the hallway and search the skeletons in the cages for bonemeal and gold. Continue out through the cave ahead, and you'll come across a larger group of enemies. You have now have a pretty full variety of attack options: you can wield a two-handed weapon, a one-handed weapon with a shield, two one-handed weapons, a bow, or you can use one of your spells. In the menu, equip each weapon or spell to the desired hand by pulling the corresponding trigger.
Once all the enemies are defeated, loot them. This will surely fill your encumberance if you've been hoarding all of the enemies' loot thus far. In general, you should drop heavy two-handed weapons and any Stormcloak armor you've picked up, as these have a lower ratio of value to weight. Continue to the other side and pull the lever to lower a drawbridge.
After the bridge collapses behind you, continue on ahead. Follow the stream up to a skeleton with a little gold and a lantern, which is sadly now a useless item, though Morrowind players will remember that it was once a usable light source. Anyway, leave the lantern and continue down this stream until it leads you to another path with a coin purse near a few bones.
Take the path here as it diverges from the stream to a nest full of Frostbite Spiders. Slay these arachnids and take their Frostbite Venom, which can be activated from the menu to add an additional poison effect to your next attack. You may also find jewelry or even gemstones on their bodies, which leads one to question how these items came to reside in the bodies of giant spiders. Check the egg sacs for another alchemical ingredient, Spider Eggs, and the web sacs hanging from the ceiling for Skeever Tails.
Continue deeper into the cave. There's a cart with a few useful items inside and more lying nearby. Your ally will recommend the use of stealth to avoid the bear ahead, or use the bow and arrows he provides to shoot it from afar. Whether you take that advice is entirely up to you, but if you're going to attack, aim to make a sneak attack while in stealth mode for bonus damage against the bear. Bears drop Bear Claws, an alchemy ingredient, as well as Bear Pelts, which can be used to make leather for smithing. Alternatively, there is one miscellaneous quest that requires you to collect 10 bear pelts, so you may wish to start saving up for that quest now.
After slaying the bear, take the path to the left through a tunnel that leads to the outside. Once you're outside, the dragon from before will fly away. Your friend will make a recommendation about your first destination before departing, and the quest will end. Completing this quest earns you the "Unbound" achievement.
After the last quest is complete, you can follow your friend to Riverwood or find it yourself. If you follow him, he will continue conversing with you and recommend that you join his faction (which begins the Civil War questline). He will also point out landmarks and stop at the Guardian Stones to allow you to select one. Choosing a stone grants you the "Blessed" achievement.
The Warrior Stone increases your level up rate in all combat skills by 20%, while the Mage does the same for magic skills and the thief for stealth skills. However, you may not wish to select any of these: the faster your skills increase, the faster your level goes up, and the faster the enemies get stronger. Therefore, though you'll be on the same page as far as levels go, you may not be able to get new and better equipment quickly enough to keep up with the rate of your leveling. In other words, boosting your skill gain rate can actually make the game a bit more difficult for you in the long run.
Continue following your ally, and the two of you will be attacked by wolves. Kill them and take their pelts, which can be used to make leather just like bear pelts. In fact, nearly any pelt can be made into leather. Follow your ally just a little further to Riverwood, after which you can speak to him in detail about the recent occurances.
To advance the mission, speak to Alvor (if your friend was Hadvar) or Gurdur (if you sided with Rolof). Let your friend speak or talk to them yourself. The friend of a friend will offer you supplies, which you can take as many of as you need. Items in their home will also be shared with you (up to a certain value), meaning that you can take them and it won't be considered stealing. They will also offer their home to you: you will be able to sleep in the beds here, which will grant a 5% bonus to skill gain. In the end, you will be asked to speak to the Jarl of Whiterun and inform him of the dragon's presence. Head to Whiterun to the North to continue the quest, but first take care of an business you have here, such as selling all the loot from the last quest that's just weighing you down.
You can reach Whiterun by crossing the bridge outside Riverwood heading to the objective on your map. Once you pass the Honeybrew Meadary, you may seem some members of the Companions fighting a giant. Help them out if you wish, then their leader will speak with you and direct you to the place where you can join up with them. If you don't care about joining the Companions, you can walk right on by.
When you reach Whiterun, head up to the top level (Dragonsreach) and speak with the guard. You can try to negotiate with her, but the most obvious solution is to simply tell the truth (that Riverwood needs the Jarl's aid) and she will let you pass. Inside, approach the Jarl and tell him what has happened, and be sure to mention either Alvor or Gerdur if you spoke to them. After you converse with the Jarl, he will give you a gift, a leveled piece of armor. The higher your level, the higher the grade of the armor will be, and it will be either heavy or light depending on whether your heavy or light armor skill is higher.
Speak to Farengar, the court wizard, and you'll be send back to Bleak Falls Barrow to collect an item called the Dragonstone. To a certain extent, this quest overlaps with the side quest, The Golden Claw. Again, simply go to Riverwood Trader and speak with the owner to start the quest. Don't bring the Golden Claw back to him, however, until you've used it to unlock a gate in the barrow, or you'll have to take it back from him.
Follow the map marker to the barrow and slay the bandit guard before entering. There are two more such foes inside. Head down into the barrow, and when you see a bandit ahead, you can simply watch as he pulls a lever that triggers a trap, taking his own life.
Go down into the room to discover a fairly obvious puzzle: before pulling the lever, you must find rotate the three icons on the left to match those shown on the upper floor. The only trick is that the second one has fallen, but is still visible on the ground. To make things simpler, I can tell you to simply turn the left one to the snake, the middle one to the snake, and the right one to the dolphin shape. Now pull the lever, and the gate will open while you remain unharmed.
Take the spiral staircase down and kill the wimpy Skeevers that are running up toward you. At the bottom, you'll see what sent them running: there is a large Frostbite Spider in the lower room. You can retreat back through the door from which you entered for a reprieve during the fight, as the spider cannot fit through it. When the spider is slain, loot its body and then cut the webs around Arvel to free him. He will run, but you might not want to chase him, as he's going to storm right into a room full of Draugr, Nordic undead.
When you head down to fight the Draugr, you can use a spike wall trap triggered by a button in the next hall against the enemies. Find Arvel's body and search him for the GOLDEN CLAW, as well as a journal that you can read for some background information. As you continue through this crypt, some of the Draugr will rise from their resting places and fight you, while others remain lifeless corpses that you can loot without a fight.
You'll come to a blade pendulum trap, which you must sprint through with precise timing to evade damage. In the next passage, be careful if you use fire: there is incendiary oil on the floor here. Use this as yet another trap to employ against the Draugr ahead. You'll eventually come to a set of stairs leading up to a room with a waterfall in it. Fight the Draugr, then pull the chain to open the gate and slide down the stream into a cavern, where a more powerful enemy awaits. Follow the next path to Bleak Falls Sanctum.
You'll come to another hall with swinging blade traps, which you can use against the Draugr ahead. There's a bridge ahead with several more Draugr, but once they're finished, you can move on to a puzzle door. This puzzle's a bit trickier: you must go into the item menu and inspect the Golden Claw for the answer. The bear should be on top, then the moth below it, then the owl on bottom, then use activate the door (which also requires the Golden Claw).
Inside, approach the word wall, an ancient stone carving containing knowledge of the language of dragons. You will learn a Draconic word, "Force," and a powerful Draugr will immediately rise from the coffin nearby. This Draugr is tougher than the others, and he possesses knowledge of the true power of the draconic language: the Dragon Shout. His shout, however, will only have the effect of stunning you and briefly knocking you back, which isn't too bad. Slay the Draugr and recover his loot, including the DRAGONSTONE you needed to retrieve. `
Exit the barrow and fast travel to Dragonsreach to speak with Farengar. Give him the Dragonstone, and you will earn his approval. Speak to the Jarl to receive your reward, another leveled armor item, and start the next main quest. You will now earn the "Bleak Falls Barrow" achievement. Note that if you save up 5,000 gold coins, you will now be able to purchase a home in this town. Speak to Avenicci if you're interested. Buying a house will earn you the "Citizen" achievement.
Your talk with the Jarl is preceded by the news that a dragon has appeared near Whiterun. After speaking to the Jarl, follow Irileth to the Western Watchtower. As you approach, you will see that the building has been absolutely devastated by a dragon attack.
Enter the tower, and a guard will cry out about a dragon, and sure enough, one will show up. This is a fire dragon, so hopefully you have some fire-resistant armor or potions of some sort to protect you. When the dragon is in the sky, it generally moves too quickly to hit, but when it hovers to breathe fire, you get a chance to shoot it with long-range magic or a bow.
When the dragon lands, you can either run to engage it in melee along with the Whiterun forces, or you can continue to attack from afar. The dragon will fortunately focus on these guards, but if he begins to attack you, you should probably run.
Instead of engaging the dragon on the ground, you may want to take cover in the tower and shoot the dragon from the roof. Unfortunately, this means the dragon is more likely to focus on you, but if he attacks, you can always descend into the tower for safety. On the bright side, the more the dragon focuses on you, the less harm he'll do to those poor guards.
Approach the dragon, and he'll burst into flame and be reduced to a skeleton while you absorb his DRAGON SOUL, granting you the "Dragon Soul" achievement. You didn't even need to use Soul Trap! The guards will start commenting on you being a Dragonborn or some such nonsense. If you want, you can do as they ask and show off your new Dragon Shout, which you obtained in Bleak Falls Hollow but can only use now that you've absorbed a Dragon Soul. Instead of shouting at the guards (which won't make them mad, but it will hurt them), shout off into the distance with Unrelenting Force. Note that shouts have a cooldown timer, which is shown on the outline of your compass.
Irileth will take up the guard at the tower and ask you to report back to the Jarl. On the way back, you'll hear a loud roar from a distant mountain. Tell Jarl all about slaying the dragon and discovering that you're a Dragonborn, and he will explain that loud roar you heard: you are being called by the Greybeards, masters of The Voice. Guess you'll have to head off to High Hrothgar, perched atop the great mountain known as the Throat of the World.
Before you embark on your epic journey, however, the Jarl will give you a randomly enchanted weapon called the Axe of Whiterun. He will also reward your service by making you a Thane of Whiterun, which is comparable to knighthood. The title of Thane comes with a perk: you will now have a housecarl named Lydia, who doubles as a follower. Ask her to follow you and Lydia will accompany you on your journey; you can then give her orders and have her carry your things, in addition to having a protector at your side in battle. When she's not on a journey with you, Lydia can be found at Dragonsreach or at your house in Whiterun, if you have one.
Reaching High Hrothgar first requires you to reach Ivarstead. Head east from Whiterun until you cross a stone bridge, then follow the signs to Ivarstead. If you have trouble, purchase the spell Clairvoyance, which will reveal a path to your destination.
Ivarstead is a small, depopulated town at the foot of the Throat of the World. There's only a few miscellaneous missions to do here, but its significance is that it is location of the beginning of the 7,000 Steps leading up to High Hrothgar. Once you've made the trip once, you'll probably want to fast travel there from then on.
Before ascending the mountain, speak to Kimmek. He gives you a miscellaneous quest to climb the steps and drop his goods in the offering box. Seeing how you're headed up there anyway, you might as well kill two birds with one stone.
Along the way up are several pilgrims, who will warn you of the journey's dangers. You'll encounter some yourself as you approach the top: at first, you'll face mere wolves, but your greatest threat will be a crag guarded by a Frost Troll. This enemy is likely to make things quite difficult for you early in the game, but you can take advantage of his significant weakness to fire to make things a bit easier. Plus, it's always nice to have some Troll Fat for your alchemy.
When you reach the 7,000th step, you'll be at the gates to High Hrothgar. If you have Kimmek's goods, drop them in the box outside before entering.
Inside, a monk named Arngeir will address you and ask you to perform a Dragon Shout to prove that you are Dragonborn. Blast him with your shout to satisfy his desire for draconic conversation.
The Greybeards will now advance your knowledge of the Unrelenting Force shout from the initial word, Fus (Force). One of the silent monks, Einarth, will teach you Ro (Balance), the second word of Unrelenting Force, which will make it less like a summer breeze and more like a blustering wind. Hold the button down to speak more words of the shout and increase its power (but also its cooldown time). You will also absorb Einarth's knowledge of the shout, just as you absorb knowledge from a departed dragon's soul.
The Greybeards will now summon targets for you to test your shout against. If for some reason the targets do not appear, you have yourself a common glitch, but you can easily remedy this by restarting your console and loading the autosave from when you entered. After blasting three targets with "Fus Ro," the first challenge is done. Now follow Borri outside.
Borri will teach you a word from a different shout: this will most likely be Wuld (Whirlwind) of the Whirlwind Sprint shout. If you already have some number of words in this shout, he will teach you the second or third word in it. Now your use of Whirlwind Sprint will be tested, so equip it from the magic menu. You must speed through a briefly opened gate before it closes by using the Dragon Shout. When you are successful, you will earn the achievement, "The Way of the Voice." Once you accomplish this successfully complete this task, Arngeir will give you a new quest: retrieve the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller from Ustengrav.
Head to the location of Ustangrav and descend into the stone pit. Before entering the door, look around for a couple of bottles of Skooma among the boxes. Skooma has seen better days; it now only restores 25 stamina, and that's it.
Inside, you'll find several dead bandits who tried to enter before. Ahead, you'll see the cause of their deaths: a group of mages who are using the bandits as their thralls. Kill the mage, and you'll kill any thrall that mage controls. Descend to find more mages, but they don't seem to be faring any better than the bandits, thanks to a group of attacking Draugr. You may want to let the two groups fight it out to weaken each other before you join the fray.
There are side rooms to the north that are filled with urns, most of which have a few gold pieces or a small treasure. There are also potions in the rooms and chests with treasure. In the eastern room, there is also a Restoration skill book to read.
Continue through the passage forward (to the east) and you will come to a branch, with one path leading into a crypt and another leading down into a small room. Collect the items in the room below, then pull a chain to reveal a passage to more treasure.
Head back up to the fork and continue into the crypt and fight the Draugr ahead. Take the stairs up, where you'll find a bridge leading across to a door to the next area: Ustangrav Depths.
Head down the steps to a branching path. Both paths lead to a room with a Draugr. Up ahead, you'll be on a bridge above a room with a Draugr. You can sneak attack him with a bow if you want before heading down via the stairs. There's also another bridge above you in this room where you can snipe another Draugr before encountering him. Take the stairs nearby to reach this bridge, which leads to the next room.
Follow the tunnel to the left, then look on your left again for a portcullis. Pull the lever to open the gate on the opposite side; you'll have to find another way to open the other gate. Head into the main room, and Draugr will rise from their coffins and attack. Kill them, then pull a lever near one of the coffins to open the portcullis and allow you access to the side room, where you'll be rewarded with an enchanting table and some treasure.
In the following room, head up the stairs to collect a potent potion, then downstairs to enter a chamber guarded by skeletons. Destroy the skeletons and ascend the stairs to collect a few items on the path behind the fire traps, then descend into the grotto. Check the chest overlooking the room, then approach the word wall to learn a word from the shout, Become Ethereal, which makes you unable to give or receive damage for its duration. Before heading back up, look behind the waterfall for another chest guarded by a Draugr.
Back at the upper level, cross the bridge to reach a puzzle room with a skeleton archer on the upper level for you to kill. Standing in front of each stone will open one of the gates, but they will close after just a few seconds. To pass, run past all three stones and then fly through the gates with Whirlwind Sprint.
In the next area, run quickly across the floor as fire springs up from the floor behind you. You'll come to some spiders ahead. To kill them, you may wish to run back across the fire floor so that they will follow you and be hit by the traps as you set them off. After fighting the spiders, cut through the web-filled doorway ahead to reach an actual door.
On the other side of the door, pull the chain to open the gate. Approach the pedestal and acquire the note there. It seems someone got to the horn before you. Before leaving, go into the room behind the pedestal and collect the treasure from the containers, then take the shortcut back to the beginning of the dungeon.
Go to the Sleeping Giant Inn in the town of Riverwood to meet the so-called friend who has deprived you of the horn. Speak to the target, Delphine, and ask to rent the attic room. She will lead you to a room and reveal herself as the "friend." She will then give you the HORN OF JURGEN WINDCALLER. She will ask you to follow her, which will start the next quest if you oblige.
Return to High Hrothgar and speak to Arngeir. Head to the main chamber where the Greybeards are gathering. Master Wulfgar will teach you the final word, "Dah," of Unrelenting Force. If this is the first full three-word shout you have learned, you will receive the "Words of Power" achievement. After absorbing his knowledge too, stick around while the Greybeards put you through yet another initiation. Once you've withstood the Voice of the Greybeards, this quest is done.
Note that you can return the horn to the tomb where it was originally supposed to be, which will allow you to absorb an additional DRAGON SOUL. The next quest, A Blade in the Dark, is already available from Delphine.
Speak to Delphine, and she'll ask you to close the door. When you do, she opens a secret passage in the wardrobe and leads you down into the basement. Speak to her here, and she should state that a Dragon burial mound is your next goal. Meet up with her at Kynesgrove. Note that this secret room contains numerous rare alchemy ingredients, potions, scrolls, plus an alchemy station and even an enchanting table. Now you can do any enchanting here in Riverwood.
It's possible to follow Delphine from Riverwood to your destination, if you'd rather not have to find your own way. Otherwise, you can always use Clairvoyance to chart a footpath to your destination. If you follow the same path as Delphine, you will pass near the Ritual Stone on your journey. This Standing Stone will grant you the ability to raise the dead around you once per day.
When you reach the marker near Kynesgrove, you'll hear Alduin chanting in the distance. Approach to watch him resurrect a dead dragon with a Dragon Shout of his own. After a brief taunting sequent, you'll have to fight the dragon he revived: Sahloknir. He's a frost dragon, so he's weak to fire. After the battle, absorb Sahloknir's DRAOGN SOUL and loot his body.
Delphine will realize that you are a Dragonborn now, for real. Talk to her, and she'll explain herself to be a surviving member of the Blades. Your next mission, it seems, will be in the Thalmor Embassy. For whatever reason, you'll have to meet up with Delphine back in Riverwood to discuss the rest of the plan. This marks the end of this quest and the beginning of the next.
When you speak to Delphine in Riverwood, she will explain her plan. You're going to inflitrate the embassy as a party guest. Your goal is Solitude, where you'll need to speak to Malborn in the Winking Skeever. Head to Solitude.
If this is your first time in Solitude, you may be witnessing an execution. Unless you want to start an all-out war in the streets, I don't recommend trying to stop it. Just head to the Winking Skeever and speak to Malborn. If there's anything you'll want to have with you during the mission, give it to Falmor when he asks for it.
Head to Catla's Farm and speak to Delphine when you're ready. She'll give you PARTY CLOTHES and a PARTY HAT. Put them on and speak to Delphine, then tell her you're ready to go. You'll automatically board a nearby carriage. You'll leave all of your stuff with her for the duration of the mission.
You'll now be at the embassy. Speak to the guard and show him your invitation before heading inside. Now follow the man named Razelan into the front door. You'll be addressed by some High Elf named Elenwen. Your conversation will be interrupted by the very person you need to speak to: Malborn. Once Malborn addresses you, you'll need to create a distraction.
Before that, go ahead and collect the various free items in the area (including some rare potions and ingredients, as well as some food). When you're ready, you can get Razelan a drink, and he'll offer a favor in return. Ask him to create a distraction while you slip out the door to the kitchen with Malborn. Alternatively, you can mislead Erikur into believing that Brelas returns his affection, which will also create a distraction.
In the kitchen, Malborn will rush you, but feel free to spend as much time collecting ingredients here as you wish. Recover your chosen items from the chest while you can, because once you continue into the hallway, Malborn will lock the door behind you.
The room on the right holds THALMOR ROBES, which you can use to disguise yourself as a Thalmor guard. If you're a High Elf, this will work splendidly. Other elves can pull it off passably, but you can't afford to get as close. Human races will have an even harder time, and if you're one of the beast races, forget about it.
In the opposite room, some guards are talking. Once they disperse, take the opportunity to sneak up the stairs unnoticed. A Thalmor mage awaits when you reach the top. Kill him from stealth before he alerts the other guards to your presence, or walk past him if your Thalmor resemblance or your stealth is sufficient. Take a left to reach an unguarded area with a door leading to the outside.
As you advance along this walkway, take out or evade the guard patrolling the path before continuing. Head into the courtyard while remaining wary of a Thalmor mage and another guard that patrol the area. Enter the central building, Elenwen's Solar.
This area contains several rare ingredients, like Glow Dust and Void Salts, so keep your eyes open. While you search the area, you'll hear two people arguing in the next room. There's more to collect in there, but wait for them to leave first. In the room adjacent to this one, one of your objectives marks a chest full of intel to collect, as well as the INTERROGATION CHAMBER KEY.
Now head upstairs. In the bedroom, collect the UNUSUAL GEM, which is part of the "No Stone Unturned" quest. Search the room's safe for some pretty valuable loot. Back at the intel chest, there's a set of stairs leading down to the dungeon door. You'll either need to have the key from the chest or pick the master lock to advance.
Inside, you'll see an inquisitor named Rulindil torturing and interrogating a prisoner. Collect the evidence from the chest behind the inquisitor. If you want, you can just leave now. Alternatively, you can kill the guards and the inquisitor and free the prisoner, Etienne. He will give you the information you need to complete the quest, even without the intel. He'll tell you to take the trapdoor to escape.
After a short while, two Thalmor guards will enter with Malborn in tow. You can either kill them and save Malborn, or you can pickpocket one of them for the TRAP DOOR KEY. Take the trapdoor to reach Reeking Cave.
Continue through the tunnel to a ledge overlooking a cave with a frost troll. If you had a companion with you before, they'll be fighting this troll. This is a good opportunity to snipe the troll from safety, but if you have anyone with you, they'll jump down and engage the troll, most likely resulting in their deaths. Therefore, you should kill this troll quickly. Before you leave, don't forget to search the alcove beneath the ledge you dropped from for an Illusion skill book.
Outside, fast travel back to Delphine in Riverwood. Check one of the chests in her underground room for the rest of your belongings. Speak to her to conclude the quest and begin the next one. You'll also get the "Diplomatic Immunity" achievement.
For this quest, you'll need to head to the town of Riften. When you approach, a suspicious guard will ask you for a "visitor's tax." You can persuade him with your speech skill or intimidate him depending on your level. Alternatively, you can just pay the so-called tax. Obviously, if this isn't your first time in Riften, you've done this already.
The most direct way to advance this quest is to speak to Brynjolf and do the quest "A Chance Arrangement," which is the first in the Thieve's Guild line of quests. However, you don't necessarily have to play the thief here. You can persuade him to reveal Esbern's location, or you can just go straight to the Ratway.
In the Ratway tunnels, you'll be bothered by a couple of muggers. Either persuade them to leave you alone or kill them. Proceed through the tunnels to the Ragged Flagon and ask either Vekel the Man or Dirge about Esbern. You can persuade them, bribe them, or beat them in a hand-to-hand brawl to get them to reveal the information. This won't be necessary if you're a guild member; they'll just point you to the warrens. If Gissur survived the last mission, he'll be spying on you now, and once you have the information, he'll head off to report to the Thalmor. Do with him what you wish.
Head to the Ratway Vaults, and get ready for an ambush by the Thalmor. While you're down here, you should also beware of a Khajit bounty hunter that may attack you at any time after you reach the Flagon. Proceed to the bottom level, either by following the bridges and rooms or by simply jumping down a couple of levels. Various enemies may be squatting down here besides the Thalmor. From the bottom floor, it's a short path to the door to the Warrens.
All of the people here, you'll notice, are totally crazy. Watch out for Hefid and Knjakr, who will try to kill you if they see you. Approach the heavily armored door and try to open it to speak to Esbern. You can either persuade him or tell him to "remember the 30th of Frostfall," and he'll let you in, after taking a ridiculous amount of time to unlock his door.
Esbern will claim that all is lost. Tell him to calm his bosom, as you are the Dragonborn he has been waiting for. This quest will immediately terminate, and a new quest will start...
Esbern will stop to collect a few things before the two of you depart. While he does that, grab the One-Handed skill book in a box by the bed. When you go to leave, you'll be attacked by Thalmor soldiers. When they are slain, head back up to the Ragged Flagon. Don't worry about Esbern dying during these fights; he is impossible to kill due to his importance to the story.
Head through the Ratway cistern and take a ladder that serves as a shortcut to the surface. Pull the chain to reveal the exit, then travel back to Riverwood with Esbern in tow. Bring him to Delphine, and they will head down to the secret room to talk. The old man will whip out an expensive book and start talking about Alduin's wall. Guess where you're going next?
That's right, Sky Haven Temple! Delphine will ask if you want to travel together, in which case she and Esbern will become your followers, temporarily. Travel to the map marker by whatever means you see fit. On the river, there will be an encampment with numerous Forsworn near the cave you're looking for. Enter the cave.
There will be a few more Forsworn inside, but they'll be easily disposed. Head in through a tunnel and you'll come to an Akaviri puzzle. The solution is so simple, it may actually confuse some players: just go up the stairs on the right and turn all the pillars to the Dragonborn symbol (that's the one with an arrow pointing down at the bottom). This will lower a stone bridge so that you can cross.
Follow Esbern to the room with the pressure plates for another puzzle. If you have another companion with you, tell them to wait while you do this puzzle. Again, it's quite obvious: just follow the path formed by the pressure plates with the Dragonborn symbol on them (the same symbol on the pillars in the last puzzle). This will lead you to a chain you can pull to disable the trap. Now go back and recover your companion to advance.
Proceed across the bridge ahead to reach the entrance Sky Haven Temple. Search the chest in the center of the room, then approach the large symbol on the floor and activate it. Now enter the face-shaped gate and enter the temple proper.
Enter the temple and take the leftmost stairs to search a living area, then head back down and join Esbern as he inspects the mural on the wall. Delphine will speak to you, and you'll be sent off to ask the Greybeards about a special shout. This will conclude the quest, and you'll earn the "Alduin's Wall" achievement. Now take the stairs to the left or right of the mural and ascend to the door to the outside.
Fast travel to High Hrothgar and speak to the Graybeards. Speak to Arngeir and ask him about the shout. He will get angry, but then change his mind. He will then take you to see Paarthurnax, the master of the Greybeards. To get through the gate that leads to him, however, you'll need to learn a shout that can dispel the blizzard leading to the top of the mountain.
In front of the gate, Arngeir will teach you all three words of a new dragon shout, Clear Skies, and grant you the knowledge of how to use it. Use Clear Skies at the gate to temporarily clear the way to the top of the mountain, where Paarthurnax awaits. As you ascend the mountain, you must continue using Clear Skies each time it wears off, all while fighting Ice Wraiths that guard the path.
When you reach the top of the Throat of the World, a dragon will land in front of you. Do not attack him. He will speak to you and reveal himself to be Paarthurnax. After a short conversation, he will shoot a dragon shout at the wall. Approach it to learn the first word of Fire Breath. He will also give you his understanding of Fire Breath.
Use Fire Breath on Paarthurnax, and he will speak to you again. Ask him about the shout, and he will tell you that he doesn't know it either, but that you can learn it by going back in time to when the Dragonrend shout was first created. You'll need an Elder Scroll to accomplish this. You must seek out Esbern at Sky Haven Temple or Arngeir at High Hrothgar and ask them where the Elder Scroll can be found.
Your next objective is the College of Winterhold to the far north. If this is your first time trying to enter the college, Faralda will stop you and demand that you demonstrate magical ability. Of course, you can just tell her you're the Dragonborn and show her a Shout instead, and she'll let you in. This will earn the achievement "Gatekeeper." Follow Faralda as she activates the safeguards on the bridge, then enter the college.
Enter the Arcaneum and speak to Urag to advance this quest. Continue to ask about the Elder Scrolls until he lets up and brings you a book: Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls. Read the book to start the Daedric quest, Discerning the Transmundane. Go back and talk to Urag about the book once you've read it, and he'll say to look for Septimus in the ice fields.
Follow the map marker to Septimus Signus's Outpost and enter it. He will give you an ATTUNEMENT SPHERE and a BLANK LEXICON. With these, head to Aftand. Outside, you'll find an abandoned research camp. Search the encampment, then go down to a series of bridges leading to the Aftand Glacial Ruins.
Descend the unadorned tunnel until you hear a madman ranting nearby. A bit further along, you'll begin seeing Dwemer artifacts, and a research table near a sealed gate. Continue on, and Dwemer automatons will start attacking you. You'll come to a fork with one path going down, but first head forward and search an alcove for a few items before taking the lower path.
You'll come upon J'darr, the crazy guy you heard before. He's been talking to his dead brother, and he will attack you on sight. Just past him, this cave will start looking more and more like a Dwemer ruin. Two Dwarven Spheres will attack you, but you can light the oil around them on fire to weaken them. Just ahead is an alcove on your left with several firing pistons. Use the ones on the wall to climb up from one piston to the next as they raise and lower to reach a hidden chest at the top.
Now follow the opposite path to a room with more Dwarven Spiders and a locked gate. Pick the lock on the gate to reach two chests behind it, then exit the gated area and take the double door from the main room. Beyond the door is a chest directly ahead, and another locked chest down the stairs on your right, guarded by a Dwarven Spider.
On the opposite path from these stairs is a hallway. Search the first room on your left for potions, then pick the lock on the second door to the right, which contains a Dwarven Sphere and a chest. Up the next set of stairs, there's a Dwarven Spider Worker on your right and another hallway to the left. You'll have to walk along a ledge with some piston traps that can push you down. The easiest way to avoid these is to jump over the pipes they come out of. Proceed along this ledge to the Alftand Animonculory.
When you enter, look in the first room on the left for a chest. In the next room, head straight forward into a gate to find a corpse and a chest at the end. Now exit the gated area and take the stairs to fight more automatons. Ahead is a trapped ramp with three pressure plates. Pressing any of the pressure plates will cause a spinning blade to deploy down the length of the ramp, so simply avoid stepping on them.
In the next hallway, pull a lever to unlock the gate ahead. Descend the walkway, fighting any automatons you encounter, until you reach a locked door on your right. Behind this door is an open gate with a chest, and a difficult locked gate (Expert level) with a Dwarven Helmet, a few potions, one unlocked chest, and a Master-level locked chest. Outside this room, jump out of the "window" across from the door to drop down into the next area.
Search the corpse that you land on, then head up the ramp and avoid stepping on the nearby pressure plate, which will trigger a pistol trap that can knock you off the platform. Search the chest up here, then head back down to the original platform you landed on and take the ramp down from here. Along this walkway, you'll be attacked by several Falmer foes. At the end is a door with a fire spout that you can easily dodge.
Behind the door is a Dwemer room overlooking a Falmer encampment. Kill the Falmer, then as you come down the first stairs, check the shelf on your right for numerous valuable ores and ingots. Down the next set of stairs, there's an alchemy lab with a few useful ingredients. Continue through the next hall until you reach a room with oil, fire traps, and Falmer. Shoot a little fire down at them, and the oil will light all of them up. Walk along the wall with the shelves to avoid the fire traps entirely. Check one of the huts for an Expert-level locked chest, and collect the ingredients cooking on the far shelf before continuing through the next hallway.
Here, the stairs leading up will lead to a table with a Dwarven Dagger, and those leading down will lead to more Falmer. Search the camp for ingredients. There's also an elevator that provides a shortcut back to the surface if used. When you're done in that camp, descend the ramp into the next room where Falmer and Frostbite Spiders await. Kill them and go through the doorway ahead, but watch out for the painfully obvious Falmer claw trap triggered by a tripwire in the next hall. Trip the tripwire from a safe distance, then open the door to the cathedral.
Head around to the right and avoid the pressure plates as you approach the Falmer enemy ahead. The camp ahead contains a couple more Falmer and a host of ingredients. After searching the camp, take the stairs to the platform above the door you just entered through. This platform has a lever that will open the gate ahead as well as two chests, one of them locked with an Adept lock.
Ahead are two Dwarven Centurions, one destroyed and one still very much alive. Destroy the remaining Centurion and loot the KEY TO ALFTAND LIFT from its body, as well as numerous treasures on the remains of both Centurions. Before passing through the next gate, check the area on the right for a locked chest.
Through the gate, you'll encounter Sulla and Umana, the last of the researchers who occupied the camp above. Search their bodies and the chest in here, then activate the Dwemer mechanism in the center of the room. Descend the staircase and enter the door to Blackreach.
Ahead are Falmer and Dwarven automaton enemies. Search Sinderion's Field Lab ahead for Sinderion's Field Journal if you want to do the quest "Return to Your Roots," which requires you to gather 30 Crimson Nirnroots down here in Blackreach. In the same building, you can find numerous ingredients, a chest, a Black Soul Gem and some regular Soul Gems, and an Alchemy skill book. Best of all, there are several Nirnroots and your first Crimson Nirnroot.
Blackreach is essentially an overworld area, only underground. From the entrance, there's an elevator on the left that leads back up to the surface. You can explore this vast area, looking for the exclusive Crimson Nirnroot and Geode Veins, which contain Soul Gems. The enemies that populate this area are mostly Falmer, but there are also Frostbite Spiders and Chaurus, and even an occassional giant. You can also activate the Dwarven Centurions, but those fights are optional. When you're done looking around, proceed to the marked location: the Tower of Mzark.
Look around this room for several treasures, among them a Smithing skill book. Proceed through the door to the next area, then take a left toward a ramp leading up. Head up another ramp to the control panel for this room, which doubles as an elaborate puzzle.
Place the Blank Lexicon in the Lexicon recepticle first. The two buttons on the right half of the control panel will rotate the sphere in the center of the room into different positions. Press the left one until the lexicon lights up and makes a noise (that will be four times from the starting position). Now press the second button from the left two times. Press the leftmost button, then go down and collect your ELDER SCROLL. You will earn the achievement, "Elder Knowledge." Don't forget to collect the lexicon from the control panel before you go, as it's needed to complete Discerning the Transmundane. You can take the elevator beneath the control platform to reach the surface again.
Return to the Throat of the World with the Elder Scroll. After Paarthurnax speaks to you, approached the marked point and read the Elder Scroll in your inventory. You will see a vision of the past and learn all three words of the Dragonrend shout.
When you return to the present, Alduin will be waiting for you. When the fight begins, use Dragonrend on him to make him vulnerable to damage and knock him out of the air. Alduin uses both fire and frost breath attacks, and he can take more damage than any foe you've yet faced.
While Alduin is grounded by the effect of Dragonrend, focus on dealing damage to him. After a certain point, he will use a shout that causes fire to rain from the sky while you fight. Use Clear Skies to end the effects of this shout. When Alduin is defeated, he will tell you off and fly away.
The quest that you'll technically be doing this point is The Fallen, but Season Unending will interrupt it early on. Speak to either Paarthurnax, Arngeir, or Esbern. No matter who you speak to, they'll say that you need to speak with the Jarl of Whiterun about using Dragonsreach to trap a dragon. If the civil war is still going on, he'll refuse due to concerns about leaving himself vulnerable. The solution: get the Greybeards to hold a peace council. If the civil war is resolved or nearly so, you can skip to the next mission.
Consult Arngeir about the matter, and he'll begrudgingly agree to help. Travel back to Solitude and tell General Tullius of the Greybeards' invitation. Then travel to the other side of the map at Windhelm and deliver the same message to Ulfric Stormcloak.
Now backtrack to High Hrothgar and speak to Arngeir again. Head to the objective-marked chamber, and once everyone is gathered, take a seat in the indicated chair. Now the negotiations will begin.
The first matter at hand is to determine whether Elenwen should be forced to leave. Asking her to leave will favor the Stormcloaks, while allowing her to stay will favor the Imperials. Whichever group you favor will then demand a major hold, for which you can tell the other party to offer either a major hold or a minor one. Obviously, an uneven trade will show your bias for the group that gets the better deal.
Whichever group you've been giving the short end of the straw will threaten to leave, but they will be talked down by Esbern's warnings about the dragons. Instead, they will ask for another form of compensation. You can choose to grant these requests or not, your choice. Regardless, a truce is agreed upon, and this mission is done.
After getting the Jarl to agree to help, you can consult either Esbern or Paarthurnax to learn the Call Dragon shout, which you need to call the dragon Odahviing to Dragonsreach. If you speak to Esbern, he will also insist that you kill Paarthurnax. Doing so will decide your loyalty between the Greybeards, who serve Paarthurnax, and the Blades, whose purpose is to slay all dragons. Don't worry, Paarthurnax is not needed for the main story to continue, though it seems unfair to kill him after all he's done to help you.
Head back to Dragonsreach and speak with the Jarl. Tell him to get ready to spring the trap on Odahviing, then follow the map marker to the grand balcony of Dragonsreach and use the Call Dragon shout to summon Odahviing. Normally, this shout has a hefty recharge time of 300 seconds, but your shout cooldown will instantly be zeroed out at the beginning of the battle.
Odahviing will swoop in and attack. Remember that your mission is to trap him, not kill him, so there's no point in trying to bring down his health, as he will regenerate if damaged too badly. To capture Odahviing, use Dragonrend on him to force him to land, then run all the way into the castle and take refuge in the stairs. Hopefully, he will follow you into the castle and be ensnared by your ingenious trap, which proves to be a surprisingly crude mechanism.
With Odahviing trapped, approach and speak to him. He will tell you that Alduin's passage to Sovngarde is located at Skuldafn. There's a catch, however: you need Odahviing's help to reach it. This concludes this quest, earning you the achievement, "The Fallen."
Return to Odahviing and free him by speaking the guard on the upper level and ordering him to open the trap. Once you're ready to depart, ask Odahviing to take you to Skuldafn. When you arrive, cross the bridge and fight the Draugr there. Head up the stairs to the right, where more powerful Draugr await. Proceed into the clearing just ahead, where you must fight a dragon.
Directly ahead is the Skuldafn South Tower, which you can explore to fight more Draugr. There's a chest at the top and a door to the outside, which leads to an empty ledge.
Up the stairs from the dead dragon in the courtyard is gate guarded by a Draugr archer on the wall. Ahead is a tower you can search for a chest at the top, then a path leading up to the temple doors. The temple perimeter is also well-populated with Draugr, who you can stop and fight if you wish. Enter the temple when you're ready to advance.
The inner temple will be guarded by more Draugr. Take the right path instead of the left, for the left path contains an arrow trap (unless you want to use this to your advantage against the Draugr). Up the next set of stairs is a room with more Draugr and a puzzle.
Adjust the left and right panels so that the creature on the wall corresponds to the symbol facing it. In other words, the snake on the right pillar should face the right wall, and the dolphin thing on the left pillar should face the left wall. On the opposite side of the pillars is a lever. Turn the center pillar so that the symbol above the door you wish to open is the same as the one facing the lever.
Open the hawk door first to collect a chest, then close the door again before turning the pillar to the serpent symbol and pulling the lever to open that door, which leads further into the temple. You'll come to a crypt with several Draugr, including one below you that is just begging for a sneak attack. After killing these Draugr, descend into the doorway in the crypt below.
The next room contains several Frostbite Spiders on your right. Cut through the webbing in the tunnel ahead and fight spiders, then proceed to a door (also guarded by spiders) that leads to a puzzle room. Before the puzzle, however, deal with the Draugr guarding it. Also, check for a chest behind the altar before you get cracking on the puzzle.
The puzzle, as usual, is very simple. Head up top and set the left pillar to match the icon above it (a dolphin-like shape), then set the right pillar to the corresponding icon on its side (a hawk). The symbol on the bottom needs to be set to the icon on the opposite side of the altar (a snake). With all three pillars aligned correctly, pull the lever on top of the altar to lower the drawbridge to the next door.
The next area of this temple contains more Draugr. Kill them, then ascend the stairs and proceed into a room with a wooden spiral staircase. Be careful, as this room if full of oil, and as soon as you approach, a blast of fire will ignite the whole room. Entering will also trigger an arrow trap pointed right at the entrance. When these traps subside, go up the wooden staircase.
There'll be a sealed gate that you can't open from here. Instead, take the iron door opposite it to find a room will a couple of Draugr and oil all over the ground. Ignite the oil to easily damage the Draugr and kill them more easily. When the fire is out and the Draugr are dead, check the chest on your right, then pull the lever in the opposite alcove to open the gate in the main room.
Go through the newly open gate and head through the tunnel. There's another oil trap to avoid before collecting the chest sitting in front of you and proceed. At the end of the hall is a powerful Draugr with a DIAMOND CLAW you need to collect from his body. Ahead is a door that opens with this key once you input the sequence shown on the claw. In case you're feeling lazy, the sequence is "Fox, Moth, Dragon" from top to bottom. Now insert the claw to open the gate.
Through the gate is a Word Wall that will teach you Storm Call, a shout that summons a lightning storm. Now head through the passage to the left of the wall. Before entering the door ahead, turn right and search the room there for treasure. Don't miss the flawless emerald and flawless amethyst in the bottom of a bowl with a linen wrap in it, found on the shelf in the corner. The door ahead leads to the outside.
Numerous Draugr await you on the battlements. This is a good time to try out Storm Call, if you have a Dragon Soul with which to buy it. Head down to the tower across from the wall and check the bottom level for a chest, then head back up. Walk along the wall to fight another Draugr foe. Take the stairs up to the portal to Sovngarde.
You can't enter yet, though. First you must fight Nahkriin, a Dragon Priest, and two dragons perched nearby. The dragons may not attack if you finish Nahkriin quickly and quietly, but you can still shoot them to provoke them into fighting you. Don't forget to weaken them with the Dragonrend shout. Nahkriin will drop the DRAGON PRIEST STAFF and NAHKRIIN, and the two dragons will provide 2 DRAGON SOULS.
To enter Sovngarde, stick the staff in the Dragon Seal on the raised platform. You must permanently surrender the staff, but it will open the gate to Sovngarde. Before you enter, be sure to collect anything you'll want to keep, as you can never return to Skuldafn. Step into the vortex to finish this quest and begin the next.
Welcome to the Nord land of the dead. In case you were confused by the setting of Oblivion, don't let the Judeo-Christian analogues confuse you. The home of the Daedra is the plane of Oblivion, and Dagon's plane of Oblivion looked more or less like hell, but that's not where the souls of mortals go when they die in the Elder Scrolls universe. Rather, the Nords of Skyrim go to Sovngarde, which is comparable to the Norse Valhalla.
Follow the path ahead until you meet a Stormcloak Soldier, who warns you that Alduin feeds on the spirits of Sovngarde. He'll also tell you to head to Shor's hall. Proceed along the path quickly to avoid Alduin, and with very little effort, you'll reach the bridge to Shor's hall. If you have trouble finding the way, you can use Clear Skies to briefly disperse the fog.
Speak to Tsun and challenge him to single combat. Lower his health to about 2/3, and he will grand you entry. Cross the Whalebone Bridge and enter Shor's hall. Approach the three heroes from your vision of the past to entreat them to fight alongside you. This will complete the quest. Yup, just like that.
Head out of the hall with companions in tow and cross the bridge to take the fight to Alduin. Equip the Dragon Shout, Clear Skies, and when the heroes are in place, use it. They will shout as well, and the mist will go away. Alduin will repeatedly call the mist back, so shout again twice more with your comrades to dispel it for good and call Alduin out.
Alduin will descend from the mountains and attack. You can't hurt him until you use Dragonrend to make him mortal and force him to land. Attack Alduin while he's on the ground, but watch out for his fire breath, bites, and shouts. Whenever Alduin takes to the skies, bring him back down with Dragonrend when he flies near you.
Alduin will employ the same meteor rain shout he used in the last battle, but Clear Skies can still counter it. You only need to use the first word of Clear Skies to stop the meteors. When Alduin's health is low, he will stay on the ground longer than usual and start using his fire breath more frequently. Once Alduin is finally defeated, he will explode in a shower of light, and his soul will be absorbed into the sky. Sadly, you cannot absorb Alduin's soul.
Upon Alduin's defeat, your companions will celebrate your victory over the World-Eater. If you drop anything you want to keep, grab it now. When you're ready to leave Sovngarde forever, speak to Tsun and ask to return to Tamriel. He will send you back with a gift: the Call of Valor shout, which will summon one of three legendary heroes to fight by your side.
You'll be back at the Throat of the World, where Alduin's former followers, the dragons, acknowledge that you have slain him. If Paarthurnax yet lives, he will congratulate you, though he mourns his brother's death. Paarthurnax will fly off to teach the dragons the Way of the Voice, and Odahviing will land beside you.
Odahviing will warn you that some dragons may not be willing to change their ways. Translation: there will still be dragons to fight. As an additional reward for beating the main story, Odahviing will tell you that you have earned his resepect, and the Call Dragon shout can now be used to summon him in a fight. Then he will fly away, and you are free to explore the other questlines the game has to offer.
To join the Companions, go to Whiterun. Near the town center, you can see an impressive set of stairs leading up to a large barracks. This is Jorrvaskr, hall of the Companions. Enter the building, then head downstairs to the living quarters to speak with Kodlak, the closest thing the Companions have to a leader. You'll find him speaking with Vilkas. Ask to join the Companions to begin this quest.
Follow Vilkas to the training yard, and he'll challenge you to a brief fight. Simply hit him with your weapon a few times, but don't use magic or enchanted weapons on him. If you have no unenchanted weapons, just punch him until he's satisfied.
Now Vilkas will send you on an errand to bring his sword to Eorlund, the smith that operates the Skyforge up the stairs from here. Talk to him, and he'll tell you not to go doing errands for people. He will almost immediately send you on an errand to bring a shield to Aela.
Aela can be found either in the living quarters of Jorrvaskr. Give her the shield. Answer her question however you wish, and she will call in Farkas. When Farkas arrives, follow him to your sleeping quarters. This will conclude the quest and earn you the "Take Up Arms" achievement.
Before the next quest will be unlocked, you must complete a radiant quest for a member of the Companions. These quests are simple missions that are randomly given out by most of the major Companions, so speak to any of them about looking for work and answer their calling. Note that you can only be on one radiant quest for the Companions at a time. The available quests are Animal Extermination Parts 1 and 2 from Aela, Hired Muscle and Trouble in Skyrim from Farkas, and three from Skjor or Vilkas: Family Heirloom, Escaped Criminal, and Rescue Mission. Each quest will give you a randomized objective related to its name.
Animal Extermination will send you to kill a specified animal, and if you take the second part of the quest, you'll be sent to a specified animal den where you'll have to clear out the beasties. For Hired Muscle, you'll be assigned to intimidate someone, which ends up with you having to fight them in a brawl. Fight them with only your bare hands until they yield, and be sure not to use weapons or magic. Trouble in Skyrim is perhaps the most generic radiant quest ever; simply head to a specified camp and kill the enemy leader there. Family Heirloom sends you to a random location to recover a certain item, which you'll usually find in a container at the specified location, though be warned that it will be guarded. For Escaped Criminal, you'll be sent after an escaped fugitive; simply kill him, and that's it. For the final possible mission, aptly named Rescue Mission, you'll have to rescue a kidnapped person alive, so just kill all the guards before you free them, then return to the specified location.
Once you've completed a radiant quest for a member of the Companions, speak to the one who assigned your mission, and they should mention that Skjor is looking for you, which officially begins this quest. Seek him out and speak with him for information on your mission. This is your Trial, which will make you a true Companion upon its completion. Seek out Farkas, who is to be your Shield-Sibling for the mission (in other words, a temporary follower).
Head to your objective, Dustman's Cairn, with your Shield-Brother at your side. Head inside the ruin, where a Two-Handed skill book awaits in front of you. At the end of the hall ahead, you'll come upon a tomb populated with several Draugr. Kill them with Farkas's help, then follow the path to the left and open a wooden door leading into the next chamber.
Head into the chamber and proceed to a room with an enchanting table and a couple of gates ahead. Enter the open gate on the left, gather a few potions, and pull the lever. This will trap you in this room while Farkas is attacked by the Silver Hand. Surprisingly, he is able to defeat them, and he leaves to release the gate that trapped you. Talk to him about his strange transformation if you want, then continue into the gate he headed into when he released you.
The hall contains a few Silver Hand enemies, and it leads into a chamber with even more of them. With Farkas's help, kill these men, then head up the wooden ramp. From this level, proceed into an empty chamber, then take the stairs down and you'll come upon a crypt with some sleeping Draugr on your right. Feel free to kill them in their sleep instead of waiting for them to wake up. Another one waits on the far end to your left. Proceed through the crypt and kill the Silver Hand ahead, and you should come upon a chest with an Adept lock. To the left is a set of stairs leading down to a door.
The next room is a ruined chamber with Silver Hand enemies, including some on the upper level who can be reached from a ramp behind them, though there's nothing but enemies to find up there. This room connects to a hallway with a dart trap (triggered by a pressure plate) and a couple more Silver Hand foes ahead. There's a chest in the area to search before entering the door ahead to Dustman's Crypt.
As soon as you enter, a Silver Hand will attack you. Through the door, you'll be on a bridge above a room with Silver Hand and Draugr enemies fighting each other, which is a good time for some sneak attacks. Descend through a hallway to reach the lower level, but look out for sleeping Draugr and a chest on the way. In the next chamber, which contains a preposterous number of linen wraps, check under the ramp leading down for an Adept locked chest. Also, pick the Adept lock on the door below to access a pantry with alchemy ingredients.
Across from the locked door is a doorway to the room where the enemies were fighting. Check a chest for DUSTMAN CAIRN'S KEY. Use this to open the great door at the end of the room, which leads to a tunnel inhabited by Skeevers. When you reach a room with an alchemy table, head through the door on your right to a tunnel that will take you out of Skeever territory and into a Giant Frostbite Spider's nest. Follow a stream from the nest to encounter more Draugr and path leading to the final chamber.
Step forward to a Word Wall, which will teach you a word of Fire Breath. Collect the valuables from the table in front of it, including the FRAGMENT OF WUUTHRAD. Unfortunately, picking this up will awaken all of the Draugr in this chamber, and they will all attack. After the fight, head up the ramp on the wall and enter a Draugr coffin that is actually a shortcut back to the entrance. It will take you to a lever in the Cairn that opens a secret door, from which you can return to the entrance.
Fast travel back to Jorrvaskr in Whiterun, where Vilkas will greet you and lead you around back where the Companions are gathered. Join them in the circle for a sort of initiation into the Companions, where Farkas will vouch for your valor. You are now officially a companion, and Kodlak Whitemane will take the fragment of Wuuthrad to Skjor off your hands to conclude your quest. Now that you're a companion, Kodlak will also send you to Eorlund for a free Skyforge Steel weapon of your choice. Before the next mission will be unlocked, you must perform another radiant quest.
After another radiant quest is done, return to Skjor, who decides that it is time you truly join the ranks of the Companions, which means you'll be transformed into a werewolf. You must meet him at the entrance to the Underforge (which is located beneath the Skyforge, if you haven't guessed) at night, which is approximately from 6 PM to 8 AM. There, Skjor will ask you to open the secret door in the rock surface, which leads down into the Underforge proper.
Inside, you will encounter Aela in her werewolf form at the Sacred Font ahead. After she explains the secret nature of the ritual, go ahead and use the font. You'll find yourself in werewolf form, but you don't have control of it just yet. After you black out, you will be in full control of your lycanthropy, and you'll be able to transform into a werewolf once per day. It's a crime to be seen transforming, but once you're in wolf form, people won't be able to tell who you are, so you can get off with any crime scot free. You should still be careful who you kill, however.
You awaken from the first transformation without your clothes in the middle of nowhere. Aela will be with you, and she can explain whatever you want to know about your new condition. Unlike vampirism, there aren't really any drawbacks to lycanthropy when you're in human form. Anyway, after the conversation, put your equipment back on. You'll be off to face the Silver Hand, who turn out to be a group of werewolf hunters, located at Gallows Rock. Skjor has already gone ahead of you, so get a move on.
Two Silver Hands guard the entrance, so kill (or avoid) them before heading in. Don't forget about your new beast form, which works like any other power in your magic menu. A barricade ahead bars your path, but you need merely to pull a chain to remove this obstacle from the door. Inside, kill the Silver Hand guards and search the chest. One door is barred, but the other you can proceed through.
The door leads to a hall with a Skeever. Just passed there, watch out for a trap, along with a few Silver Hand enemies. In the same room, you'll encounter a werewolf. You can release the beast, but unless you go into beast form, it'll just attack you.
Head downstairs to a location where you'll fight many more Silver Handers, unless they came up and fought in the last battle. In the chamber where you fought them, look for a Master-locked chest in the back. Head upstairs again to fight more Silver Hands, and a locked door concealing potions and multiple chests.
Down the stairs from the previous area, you'll encounter Krev the Skinner, leader of this group, along with two Silver Hand archers. After the fight, search the chest in the back, then speak with Aela regarding Skjor's death.
Before this quest unlocks, you must complete two of Aela's three new radiant quests. One, titled Stealing Plans, surprisingly entails stealing plans. Head to the specified Silver Hand camp and take the SILVER HAND STRATEGEM. For the second possible mission, Striking the Heart, ou will also be sent to a Silver Hand camp, but this time the goal is to kill the camp leader. The final mission you might get, Retrieval, requires you to recover a FRAGMENT OF WUUTHRAD... from a group of the Silver Hand. Basically, you'll be fighting these guys no matter what.
After the second of those quests is complete, it's time for the real quest. You'll be sent by Aela to meet with Kodlak, who is probably in the Jorrvaskr Living Quarters. He will reveal his plan to end the Companions' servitude to Hircine by taking the heads of the witches responsible for the "curse." Your objective, therefore, is Glenmoril Coven.
At the coven entrance, you'll encounter the first Glenmoril Witch. You may wish to slay her with stealth, before she can use her ice magic or summon her familiar. After her death, search her body for a GLENMORIL WITCH HEAD in addition to the usual Hagraven Feathers. You can head back right now if you like, or you can head inside and wipe out the rest of the witches to complete your optional objective.
Inside, four more witches like the previous one wait for you. Each can summon a familiar, bringing the potential number of foes to eight. The witches themselves are found in pathways that branch off from the main cave. Notably, these dead-end caves also contain chests to loot. After you're done clearing the cave (if you chose to do so), head back to Jorrvaskr.
Looks like the Silver Hand have been busy attacking your hangout while you were away. You'll see several corpses outside to indicate this. When you enter, you'll find Vilkas, who delivers the news that Kodlak is now dead, and initiates the next quest. Hold onto those witch heads for now.
No radiant quests this time, as Vilkas sends you off to Driftside Refuge straight away. With Vilkas at your side, head to this Silver Hand base to avenge your fallen Shield-Brother. You'll encounter a group of guards right outside this fortress, located in the northern mountains. One archer shoots from the roof, but he can be reached via the stairs, or you can just use a bow.
Enter the stronghold, and you'll encounter more Silver Hand and a barred door. Head to the left of that door and you'll encounter more foes. Continue through the next couple of rooms and you'll reach a balcony in an area with two more enemies. Search the area for a chest, then continue down the steps ahead.
As you descend, don't miss the locked door to the side. More Silver Hand foes await just beyond the door, along with a chest. Proceed to the next area where two more guards wait. Up ahead, you'll come across a door barred by spears, blocking your advance. A simple lever nearby will retract the foul fetters, freeing you to proceed into the cellar area.
Before proceeding, look around for a chest. When you continue forward, look out for a pressure plate that triggers a swinging gate trap as you fight the next group of Silver Hand. Of course, this trap can be used to your advantage as well. After the fight, pull a bar to move a gate and reveal a chest, along with a caged werewolf.
Proceed through a damaged section of a wall leading into a snowy tunnel, where you'll fight more Silver Hands. Another cage in this torture chamber contains a werewolf. In the large chamber that follows, you must fight a few more enemies. The path ahead lies up the stairs, which take you back to part of the Refuge zone.
In the next room, head up the stairs to the left, where you face three more Silver Hand foes. Once all three go down, your optional objective will complete if you also killed all the other Silver Hand enemies here. Either way, go ahead and collect the FRAGMENTS OF WUUTHRAD that the Silver Hand stole, and don't forget to search the chest nearby as well. Head back to Jorrvaskr to begin the final quest for the Companions. Again, no radiant quests are required to unlock it.
Return to Whiterun, and this quest begins automatically. Head to the Skyforge behind Jorrvaskr, and you'll find that it is being used to hold Kodlak's funeral. Afterward, Aela will ask you and the rest of the Circle to return to the Underforge, but Eorlund will ask you to do him a favor before you go. After he asks if you have the fragments of Wuuthrad, he will ask you to retrieve the final piece from Kodlak's quarters.
Go to the living quarters and enter the bedroom with the map marker. Check the indicated table and collect the FRAGMENT OF WUUTHRAD. His journal is also there for you to read, and you are mentioned within. Return the final fragment to Eorlund, then proceed to the Underforge to meet with the rest of the Circle. Your comrades will argue over the matter that the Tomb of Ysgramor cannot be entered without Wuuthrad. Eorlund resolves this by entering and delivering WUUTHRAD to you.
Head to Ysgramor's Tomb with the Circle at your side and Wuuthrad in hand. Note that Wuuthrad's special effect makes it deal 20% more damage to elves. Once you reach the tomb, Vilkas will instruct you to give up Wuuthrad by placing it is Ysgramor's hands. Interact with the statue to do this, which will unlock the tomb. Vilkas will stay behind; can't have this quest getting too easy, I suppose.
Head inside and fight off Skeevers, then Companion Ghosts who seek to challenge you. After the fight in the first chamber, head into the next room and fight off more ghosts. Don't forget to loot the chest here before you proceed. Farkas will leave, but pay it no mind and smash the spider webs ahead. Fight a few Frostbite Spiders, then proceed into the nest and fight a bigger one. Use the chain here to open the doorway ahead.
Ahead is a burial chamber with more Companion Ghosts. Slay them as you proceed until you reach a door with a handle for you to pull, opening a new passage. Kill the ghosts in the newly revealed room, then collect the potions lying around here. Now proceed to Ysgramor's burial chamber, where you will encounter the ghost of Kodlak.
Speak to Kodlak, who resides here in an attempt to escape his afterlife with Hircine. At Kodlak's request, approach the blue fire ahead and toss in the witch's head from two missions ago. When you do this, it will release Kodlak, but it will also free the evil beast within him. You must now fight Kodlak's Wolf Spirit.
After the fight, speak to Kodlak's ghost and inform him that the wolf spirit within him is vanquished, and he is free to go to Sovngarde. You also have the option to throw another witch's head into the fire, thus ending your own curse as well, but be warned that the effects are irreversible. Before you leave, search the chest in this room for the SHIELD OF YSGRAMOR. A pullchain will open the gate and allow you to return to the entrance. Outside, be sure to grab WUUTHRAD back from Ysgramor's statue as you depart. Also, a set of steps on the mountainside nearby will take you to a Word Wall that will teach you a word of the Animal Allegiance shout.
Return victorious to Jorrvaskr, where you are proclaimed Harbinger. You also get a few more perks. Firstly, the Skyforge can now be used to forge Nord Hero weapons, thanks to Kodlak's spirit. You can also now marry most of the main characters in the Companions. Finally, one last batch of radiant quests will open up.
The first quest, Totems of Hircine, is from Aela. She asks you to recover a TOTEM OF HIRCINE from a random location and return it to the Underforge. The TOTEM OF THE HUNT will grant a Detect Life ability, while the TOTEM OF BROTHERHOOD summons spirit wolves. The second quest, Dragon Seekers, is given by Farkas and Vilkas, and simply sends you off to slay a dragon at a random lair. The final quest, Purity, is given once by Farkas and once by Vilkas. They simply ask that you repeat Kodlak's ritual. This means you'll need a witch head for each of them, so go back to Glenmoril Coven if you need more. Return to Ysgramor's Tomb, toss the head into the fire, and slay another Wolf Spirit. Of course, this can only be done once for each of them.
In the course of the game's Main Quest, you will end up at the College to inquire about the Elder Scroll, and this mission should already have begun. Otherwise, head to Winterhold and speak to the elf guarding the bridge to the College. She will attempt to test you by having you cast a simple spell on a seal on the ground. There are, however, numerous alternative entry methods: you can persuade her, for example, or show her a Dragon Shout to gain easy entry. If you're stuck, you can even buy a basic spell from her so that you can complete the test. Afterward, follow her into the College.
In the courtyard, speak to Mirabelle Ervine, who will give you some magical equipment: APPRENTICE ROBES OF DESTRUCTION, an APPRENTICE HOOD OF MAGICKA, and... BOOTS. Pretty nice rewards, considering you haven't really done anything yet. Follow her on her tour of the college if you wish, and you should end up in the Hall of the Elements, where Tolfdir is lecturing.
Attend Tolfdir's lecture, and give your opinion on his lecture. He will then ask you to practice a Ward spell with him, and he'll teach you LESSER WARD in case you don't know it already. Simply hold the spellcasting button down with the ward to block his spell. If you don't have the magicka to sustain the spell for very long, trying equipping the Hood of Magicka you were given, and drink a Potion of Fortify Magicka if you have one. This should make it easier to sustain the ward long enough to block a spell.
After the demonstration, Tolfdir decides to take the class on a "field trip" to Saathal, an excavation site that happens to be a Draugr tomb. Surely nothing could go wrong with this little outing... Anyway, head out to Saarthal to begin the next quest, which is fittingly named "Under Saaarthal."
Head to your next quest objective, located at Saarthal, where you should meet up with Tolfdir and your fellow students. If you beat them to it, wait a few game hours for them to arrive. You can talk to your fellow students about their thoughts, or ask Tolfdir about the nature of this assignment. Let Tolfdir know when you're ready to start exploring, and he'll take you into the excavation site.
Inside the ruins, Tolfdir will give a brief lecture on the history of the site. Afterward, ask him what he needs, and he will send you to assist Arniel Gane, who can be found in one of the chambers ahead, indicated by the map marker. Gane will assign you the task of recovering enchanted items in the surrounding area. Sweep the area for these quest items: 3 ENCHANTED RINGS. The final item, the SAARTHAL AMULET, can be found in an alcove, but be aware that taking it will trigger a spear trap.
After you have all four items, Tolfdir comes to check up on you. Tell him what happened, and he will suggest that you use the amulet. Obviously, you should go to your inventory and equip it. At Tolfdir's suggestion, cast a projectile spell at the wall ahead, and it will reveal a hidden passage. Follow Tolfdir inside, and you'll have a vision where a character named Nerien speaks to you. Tell Tolfdir about it, then proceed further into the tunnel.
Tolfdir will start to excavate, but he is interrupted by Draugr breaking in. Kill the Draugr, then continue to follow Tolfdir into the opening from which they came. You'll come upon a gate that must be lifted using a nearby lever. The gate leads to a chamber where additional Draugr will attack you. When the Draugr are slain, Tolfdir will decide to stay behind. Head across the central bridge, then use a lever on either side of the next door to remove the obstructions on the door ahead.
Enter this door to begin exploring Saarthal proper. You'll be passing through a crypt with Draugr waiting to awaken from their resting places as you come near, though they present decent opportunities for sneak attacks. At the end of the path, ascend a set of stairs and you'll come to a coffin near a door, which leads to a tunnel. Watch out for both fire and dart traps as you pass through the tunnel, which will land you at the location of a puzzle.
Here, there is a lever in the center and six pillars with carvings on them. Do not simply pull the lever, or a trap will be triggered. To solve the puzzle, look for the symbol above each pillar, and rotate the corresponding pillar to match the icon. The puzzle solution is "Dolphin, Snake, Bird" on the left side and "Bird, Bird, Dolphin" on the other side. Pull the lever with this configuration, and the exit should open up.
A Draugr mini-boss awaits in the chamber ahead. Once he is dead, search the chest here, then take the door behind it. Watch out for the spell traps as you approach another puzzle. Again, don't pull the lever until the puzzle is solved. From left to right (starting and ending with the nearest pillar), you want to position the pillars to show "Dolphin, Snake, Bird, Dolphin," but the problem is that each pillar moves a varying number of pillars. Simply turn the near left pillar until it shows the dolphin, then the far left one to show the snake, the far right one to show the bird, and finally the near right one to show the dolphin. Make sure all the symbols came out to match those shown in the statue mouths, then pull the lever.
Proceed through another tunnel containing both spell traps and dart traps. At this point, Tolfdir will regroup with you and discuss his findings. Proceed through the next door, which leads to Jyrik Gauldurson's chamber. Here you'll find a magic orb of some sort, but you should probably be more worried about Jyrik himself, who survives in undeath as a Draugr. Jyrik is completely invincible, as you'll soon find, so just avoid him for the beginning of the fight while defending yourself.
Once Tolfdir uses the power of the orb against Jyrik, he'll become vulnerable to damage. However, he's cloaked in an elemental shield that constantly changes, making him invulnerable to that element of magic. Luckily, it also makes him more vulnerable to the opposite element, so when he uses his fire shield, use frost spells, and vice versa. With Jyrik dead, listen to Tolfdir, who decides that the Archmage must be told about the artifact you found. Also be sure to loot Jyrik's body for the STAFF OF JYRIK GAULDURSON.
Take a shortcut through the door in the back, where you'll find a chamber containing numerous treasures. Among these are GAULDUR AMULET FRAGMENT, which adds 30 to your magicka, and the WRIT OF SEALING, which begins the sidequest, "Forbidden Legend," which is all about fighting Jyrik's undead brothers. Also, don't miss the word wall here, which can teach you a word of Ice Storm. When you're done gathering goods, use a handle to open a portcullis leading back to the excavation site.
Back at the College, speak with Savos Aren, and tell him about the discovery at Saarthal. The good Archmage is surprised by your discovery, and decides to go inspect the sphere himself. For making the discovery, he grants you a relatively paltry gift: a STAFF OF MAGELIGHT. He also decides to put you to work with more research, which automatically begins the next quest, "Hitting the Books."
Head to the Arcanaeum, which can be reached through the Hall of Elements. There, speak to Urag gro-Shub, the irritable orc librarian. Tell him you need information about the glowing orb you found in Saarthal. Turns out that all the books on the subject were stolen by a student named Orthorn and given to the warlocks of Fellglow Keep. It seems you'll just have to head up there and recover all three books. On your way out, a Thalmor mage will question you about your discovery.
When you reach the keep marked on your map, you'll probably be attacked by the Fire and Ice Mages there. The obvious entrance is sadly locked, so you'll have to follow your map marker to an alternate route guarded by some sort of Atronach (depending on your level). The next area forces you to wade through some partially flooded rooms. One warlock and some Frostbite Spiders will attack you in one of the rooms. A tunnel will lead you out of the flooded area, but be sure to avoid the dart traps that lay waiting in the tunnel.
After passing through a few tunnels, you'll come upon a dungeon with vampires that have been taken prisoner by the warlocks. Kill the jailer, and feel free to release the vampires by pulling the levers by their cells. The vampires won't attack you, but they'll help you fight the warlocks ahead before they escape. After the warlocks in the next area are dead, be it by your hand or the vampires, find a corridor with spider webs in it, and you'll locate a second dungeon.
Unlike the previous dungeon, these cells don't hold vampires. The warlock on the opposite side of the room will run to the center and pull a lever, releasing a small pack of wolves upon you. Try to kill him before he reaches the lever using a ranged attack. Optionally, you can speak to Orthorn, the student responsible for stealing the books you needed. If you want, you can ask him to lead you to the books, in which case he will follow you temporarily.
Head down to the next room, a cellar where you'll find mages casting spells at targets, which they will turn on you if they spot you. From here, continue to a group of necromancers in the crypt, who will raise skeletons from their graves to fight you. A door in this crypt leads to the main Fellglow Keep area.
The initial chapel area contains quite a few mages for you to battle, but the reward is quite sweet: a Conjuration skill book on the podium before you. From here, head into the back, where Storm Mages join the ranks of the warlocks. Magic-oriented players should remember that shock damage will damage their magicka as well. Climb the stairs in the main hall, and head to the library. Find a tunnel with a rock blocking it, then take the staircase up to the Ritual Chamber, but don't forget to grab the potions and scrolls on the shelf first.
The Caller waiting within is the boss of this area, but you may not have to fight her. If Orthorn is with you, you can offer to trade him for the books you need. Otherwise, you'll have to fight her, so go ahead and try for a sneak attack if you can. She will summon Atronachs to defend her and use a teleport spell to escape when attacked. Focus on killing the Caller, and her atronachs will disappear. Search her body for the FELLGLOW RITUAL CHAMBER KEY, then look around and collect the three books you came to get: NIGHT OF TEARS, FRAGMENT: ON ARTAEUM, and THE LAST KING OF THE AYLEIDS. You can use the key to take a shortcut back to the entrance when you're done.
Brung the books back to Urag in the Arcanaeum. He will take the books to study (because obviously there's no way you could just read them yourself) and reward you with a surprisingly useful gift: a collection of skill books, one for each school of magic! Furthermore, you can read them for the skill points and sell them for a profit. You can even turn around and sell them right back to the librarian. He won't get his feelings hurt if you return the gift. This quest proceeds directly into the next one.
Head to the Hall of the Elements, where you'll discover that the glowing orb has been brought back here from Saarthal. How did they get it through the door? Speak to Tolfdir, and mention to him that you found the book, Night of Tears. However, it seems that he won't so easily be pulled away from this orb, which he calls the Eye of Magnus. Tolfdir will start babbling about his discoveries related to the orb, but an elf named Ancano interrupts him to bring you news. You will learn that a member of the Psijic Order is looking for you. Follow Ancano to the Archmage's Quarters, where the mage awaits.
The Psijic, named Quaranir, uses some kind of time-stopping magic, then speaks to you. He warns you that the Eye of Magnus poses some kind of danger, but just about everything else he says is pretty vague. He sends you to find the Augur of Dunlain. With this, the spell ends. You can ask all the members of the college what they know about him, though this serves little purpose but to provide backstory information.
The man to talk to is Tolfdir, as a few of your other colleagues will hint. Ask him about the Augur, and it turns out he knows just what you're talking about. To find the Augur, however, you'll have to descend below the College of Winterhold, to the Midden. Follow the map marker to one of the entrances and head down into this hidden dungeon, though be warned that this area of the College is no safe haven.
In the Midden passages, you'll encounter sleeping Draugr and Atronachs, neither of which will be happy to see you. Fight these enemies and proceed to a bridge of ice, where you'll hear a ghostly voice. Ignore his attempts to dissuade you from your quest and proceed to the door to his chamber. Try the door, and the Augur will decide to open it for you. Turns out the Augur is not a person-shaped ghost, but rather a big glowing ball of light.
Speak to it, and you will learn that Ancano (that Thalmor) came before you, but the Augur sadly forgot to mention to him that the Eye of Magnus was incredibly dangerous. Oops. Guess you'll have to go get the Staff of Magnus, a magical item that can provide protection against the danger of the Eye. Go report this to the Archmage.
Like everyone else, the Archmage is probably staring at the Eye of Magnus. Go talk to him, and with the information from the Augur, he'll be convinced that you should seek out the Staff of Magnus. Of course, you're the one who gets saddled with tracking it down. The Archmage rewards you with a MAGE'S CIRCLET, which will continue to boost your magic stores. Again, the next quest will start immediately.
Look around the college for Mirabelle Ervine, who has information about the Staff of Magnus. Her answer is that a group of Imperials from Synod were looking for the same thing, and they went to Mzulft, a Dwemer ruin, to find the staff using some kind of Dwemer observatory. Now go locate the ruins, which can be found just east of Windhelm. When you reach the large double doors, go ahead in.
Before you've gone far, you'll meet one of the Imperials, Gavros. After telling you that he was ambushed and that his fellow Synod researchers are still inside, poor Gavros bites the dust. Search his body for the MZULFT KEY, as well as his RESEARCH LOG. Read the log if you want, then continue. The hallway ahead, opened with the aforementioned key, contains a pressure plate that will trigger a spear trap, as well as the corpse of another researcher. The following room contains a couple of Dwarven Spiders for you to fight.
Proceed up the ramp and fight the remaining Dwarven Spiders. Open the door to the north from a safe distance, as a trap is waiting on the other side, to be triggered the moment the door is opened. Through that door, you'll encounter another spider and a chest. Afterward, exit that room and head to the door on the east side of the room. Through this path, you'll see a spider spawn from a hole, so kill it, then continue onward in this direction.
A rather nasty enemy waits ahead: a Chaurus. If you aren't familiar with this foe yet, be warned that these foul insectoids are heavily armored but high in strength, so use your most effective attack options to bring it down and watch your health carefully. Don't miss the ore veins in this area, which you can mine with a nearby pickaxe if you haven't brought your own. Feel free to search the two Synod researchers before proceeding to the next chamber.
As you enter, watch out for a tripwire trap that will release a cascade of rocks upon you. You don't want to enter the next fight in a weakened state, for this area holds not one but two Chaurus enemies. Once those nasty Chaurus are slain, proceed up the nearby ramp and fight the Dwarven Sphere. If you pick the lock on the nearby gate, you can loot a couple of chests.
From here, head north and up a ramp, where another Sphere awaits. Afterward, there's a set of stairs you can descend to find a chest, as well as another path to the north leading onward. You'll have to cross a ledge with pumping pistons. To pass, you may wish to use Whirlwind Sprint, or you can simply avoid the pistons with careful timing. Through the hallway ahead, you'll reach the entrance to the Mzulft Boilery area.
In the halls ahead, you must fight a couple of Falmer guarding a few dungeon cells, though they contain little of value but Dwemer scrap. Continue into a tunnel, where you'll encounter a Chaurus again. Around this area, you should find another chest near an ore vein in an dead end. Continue through the tunnel and fight a Falmer and Chaurus team, then search the nearby Falmer hut for a chest.
The cave ahead contains a couple more Falmer and the corpse of another researcher. Once you slay the Chaurus just ahead, don't miss the chest near the ramp before you continue. The path ahead will take you back to a Dwemer ruin area, where you'll find a door with a Master lock. If you can pick it, it holds a chest and a MZULFT ROOM KEY.
Continue westward, but unlock the door on the right for a room with a chest. At the end of the path, you'll encounter two more Falmer in a chamber. A separate room contains a Chaurus and a chest, while the opposite path leads to the Mzulft Aedrome area.
Falmer and Chaurus alike await on the path ahead. Kill them, then proceed to the large chamber ahead, which contains numerous Falmer. One of them, a mini-boss of sorts, should drop the FOCUSING CRYSTAL upon his death. Search the Falmer hut for a chest, then the room to the north for another chest. The final chamber following this one will hold a powerful Dwarven Sphere of some degree, which may know shock spells. Once he falls, search the chest in this room for the MZULFT OBSERVATORY KEY.
From the room where you acquired the Focusing Crystal, head up the stairs to the west and search another chest if you haven't already looted it. Using the key you just obtained, open the door up here, heading up the ramp to the Oculory. There, you'll speak with Paratus Decimus, the only surviving researcher. Follow him to the Oculory and place the crystal into it.
Of course, it's not that simple. You must complete a puzzle using fire and frost spells. If you've somehowe managed to get this far without acquiring these basic magic arts, there's a table naerby with tomes to teach you Flames and Frostbite, strewn among books related to the Dwemer. To adjust the elements of the Oculory, use the fire spell to rotate them in one direction and the frost spell to rotate them in the other direction.
As for the actual solution, hit each of the lenses in the Oculory with a spell until their light beams are each hitting one of the panels with moveable mirrors on them. Once the beams are in place, you must move the mirrors into position to reflect the beams. To do this, you'll need to press the buttons on the nearby pedestals, each of which moves one of the mirrors. Once all of the mirrors are reflecting the beams up to a single spot on the ceiling, the Occulory is focused.
A map of Tamriel will appear, but something's up. There's a strange distortion right about where the College is. Speak to Paratus, who isn't too happy to learn of this, and gets really suspicious. Anyway, find out the Staff of Magnus's location from him, then leave him. As you leave, Quaranir shows up. Follow his advice and head back to the College through a shortcut leading back to the beginning of the dungeon.
When you arrive back at the college, speak to the cranky Archmage. It seems he's not happy, as Ancano (the Thalmor mage) has decided to seal himself inside the Hall of Elements with the Eye of Magnus. He decides to try to break through the barrier, but instead, he triggers a big old magical explosion, ending the quest with a bang. The next one, Containment, starts up right away.
Seek out Mirabelle, who will send you to seek out the Archmage. You'll find him surrounded by a crowd in the courtyard, dead. Speak to Tolfdir, who will confirm the obvious: the Archmage lives no more. However, you have more pressing concerns: protecting Winterhold from the Eye of Magnus. After the explosion, it appears that a bunch of magical monsters have appeared in town and are attacking the residents.
On your way across the bridge, speak to Faralda and enlist her help in defending the town from the Magic Anomalies (evil wispy things) that are attacking it. You'll have to fight ten of them in all to save the town. If you can, try to engage them in combat and then lead them away from the locals so that you can fight with impunity.
Obviously, you'll want to be careful to protect the townspeople during this quest, so try not to hit them by mistake during the fight. If you fail a quest in the middle of the fight, an important NPC probably died, either by your hand or because of the monsters, so you may wish to reload. On the bright side, these anomalies drop soul gems when slain.
With the monsters vanquished (and hopefully the townspeople alive), head back to the College and inform Mirabelle of your success. She and the other mages are busy keeping the Eye of Magnus from exploding, so it's your job to seek out that Staff of Magnus you were looking for. Mirabelle will give you the TORC OF LABYRINTHIAN for this purpose, as well as SAVOS AREN'S AMULET, which will fortify your maximum magicka by a whopping 50 points.
Head to the location of Labyrinthian while being wary of the occasional Frost Troll. When you arrive, you will see several ghosts outside replaying an event from the past, though your attempts to interact with them are futile. Once they're done, open the door with the Torc and head inside.
Inside the dungeon, continue and you'll witness another scene with the ghosts, and you can check a nearby table for a tome that will teach you Telekinesis. Pull the lever here to gain acess to a chamber containing a powerful undead enemy: a Skeletal Dragon, supported by several normal Skeletons. The skeletons will be easy enough, and for the Undead Dragon, exploit his weakness to fire. Skeletal Dragons have no Dragon Souls, unfortunately.
Proceed onward past the skeleton chamber and you'll see yet another spectral scene before entering Labyrinthian Chasm. The door ahead is sealed with ice, and Draugr will attack you when you approach. Use a fire spell to melt the ice blocking your path. If you still somehow don't have a fire spell (even though you needed one in the Oculory), don't fret, for there is a tome of Flames nearby.
The chamber ahead contains Draugr as well. Proceed downward and through the hallway to the south, killing another Draugr. Beware the trap on the door at the end. Within, you will encounter Alchemy and Enchanting Stations and a spell tome of Equilibrium. There are also some useful alchemy ingredients lying around.
Return to the chasm and continue your descent. You'll hearing a voice speaking to you, initially in Dragon and now in the common tongue. Unfortunately, simply hearing him speak will drain your magicka reserves. Following this, you'll reach the bottom of the chasm, where you can pick up a Nirnroot. An alternate path leads to a bridge into a hall of alcoves. Slay the Draugr, and you'll find yourself at the same location with the Nirnroot. The voice will speak again at this point, as you reach the door to the Labyrinthian Thoroughfare.
The two paths ahead lead to different levels of the same room, though one requires you to pick a Novice lock and the other requires a fight with a Draugr and/or Skeleton. Either way, search the path for chests, then fight the Troll ahead. Check the corner for another chest, then head north and battle some lowly skeletons. Cross the bridge and find a couple of Trolls guarding a chest ahead.
Pull a lever to remove the spears blocking your advance, then proceed through the arch ahead and collect a chest via the steps above. Upon entering the cemetary area, you'll encounter the rare Wispmother enemy. The flames on the door ahead must be extinguished with ice magic before you can continue.
Head down through several groups of Draugr and skeletons. There are two paths that will ultimately lead you to the same location, where a troll and a Draugr are duking it out. Slay the winner of the fight (if it's the troll, don't give him time to regenerate) before proceeding into the Labyrinthian Tribune through the iron door ahead.
Proceed through the hallway ahead, looting the chest and collecting the spell tome of Steadfast Ward. The hallway ahead contains numerous Soul Gem Traps; you can deactivate them by removing the gems that power them. At the top level of the next room, you can loot a chest, while a locked gate in the next room conceals more useful loot.
Proceed into the west path and you'll come to a Word Wall room with a powerful Draugr guarding it. Slay the Draugr boss and approach the Word Wall to gain a Word of Power from the Slow Time shout. You'll see the final flashback before entering the chamber just ahead, where you must fight the Dragon Priest, Morokei, sealed away by wizard thralls.
Attack the thralls to stop their containment spell and release Morokei from the barrier. He will now be vulnerable and simultaneously able to attack. Face the Dragon Priest in single combat, but be wary of his voice, which steals your magicka. With the Dragon Priest dead, loot his corpse for the STAFF OF MAGNUS plus a Dragon Priest Mask, MOROKEI, which grants +100% magicka regeneration. The staff is no small matter either: it rapidly absorbs magicka from the target, and when they run out of magicka, it starts absorbing health instead.
On your way out through the usual shortcut in the rear of this room, you'll spot a couple more chests to loot. You'll also encounter a Thalmor mage in cahoots with Ancano. Obviously, you should kill him, then return to Winterhold and speak to Tolfdir on the bridge to start the final quest in the College questline: The Eye of Magnus.
The College looks a little worse for wear, as it's being torn apart by the power of the Eye. Blast your way through the energy storm with the Staff of Magnus to reach the Hall of the Elements. There, Ancano waits with the Eye of Magnus, which is looking pretty close to exploding.
Ancano is initially invincible, as you'll quickly find out. Furthermore, he begins the fight by paralyzing Tolfdir and your followers. The key to defeating him is the Staff of Magnus, which can nullify the power of the Eye. Until the Eye opens fully, Ancano remains invincible.
When Ancano opens the Eye, shoot it with the Staff of Magnus to close it. After doing this, Ancano becomes vulnerable to damage. Attack him as much as you can, and he'll try opening the Eye once again. This time, Magic Anomalies are unleashed from it, and you'll have to fight them. If the staff's charge is running out, you can recharge it with the soul gems that the anomalies drop.
Use the staff's magic to close the Eye and make Ancano vulnerable again, then attack him to your heart's delight. If he opens the Eye again, repeat the process of destroying any anomalies and zapping the Eye with the Staff. Eventually, Ancano will fall, and the Eye will be neutralized.
Speak to Tolfdir. While it's great that you stopped Ancano, there's still no way to stop the Eye. Quaranir shows up, luckily enough, and though he initially says some scary things about how the Eye could destroy the world or something, Quaranir decides that the world is not ready for the power of the Eye, so he and the Psijic Order seal it away.
Looks like you're the new Archmage now, considering that just about everyone else important is now dead and the Psijics have backed you. Go talk to Tolfdir, who will confirm this. You will receive the ARCH-MAGE'S ROBE, the ARCH-MAGE'S HOOD, and the KEY TO THE ARCH-MAGE'S QUARTERS. That's some powerful magical equipment, plus a free place to stay. Oh yeah, and you get a 10% discount from all sellers at the College.
Sad that there's nothing more to do in the College? Never fear, there remains an infinite supply of randomly generated radiant quests in the College to keep you busy. Once you exceed a level of 90 in any school of magic, you can also perform a unique radiant quest to learn the Master-level spells in that school. As an added bonus, the Conjuration Ritual Spell with unlock an upgrade to the Atronach Forge, making it possible to upgrade Ebony equipment into Daedric equipment. Needless to say, being the Archmage of the College of Winterhold certainly has its perks.
If you've already done the Main Quest, you may have completed this quest already to gain entrance to the Ratway. If not, visit the Bee and Barb or the Riften marketplace, and you'll probably be contacted by Brynjolf. He asks you to steal and plant an item while he creates a distraction. Do this for him, and you'll be well on your way to joining the guild.
Note that this quest must be completed during the day, so if you met Brynjolf at night, you'll have to wait until daytime to actually start the quest. When Brynjolf begins advertising a Falmerblood Elixir and calls the merchants away from their stalls, head to Madesi's stall, which will be your marked objective.
Make sure you're undetected before doing anything. There's a Novice lock on the stall door to take care of, and then you'll have access to Madesi's strongbox. Take whatever you want, and be sure to collect MADESI'S SILVER RING.
Now you'll have to do a little reverse pickpocketing. Sneak up on Brand-Shei without anyone seeing you, and then save the game, as pickpocketing is always a matter of chance and you don't want to be caught. Put your Madesi's Silver Ring into Brand-Shei's inventory to plant it on him.
Brynjolf will immediately end his distraction. Go speak with him, and he will reward you with a standard 100 GOLD. Brynjolf will offer you more work in this field. Accept, and the next quest in this questline will begin.
Enter the Ratway sewers to begin the quest. A few thugs will be waiting inside to ambush you. A series of tunnels ahead will lead to the entrance to the Ragged Flagon, and you can also pull a lever to lower a bridge, creating a shortcut from the Ratway entrance to the Flagon.
Inside the flagon, speak to Brynjolf and accept his quest. You must collect debts from three people in Riften: Keerava, Bersi Honey-Hand, and Haelga. Ask Brynjolf about each mark to get additional objectives that can help you convince them to pay up.
You can convince each shopkeeper to pay up with a personalized intimidation method, or you can choose the brawl option in dialogue and then beat them up. The final shopkeeper, having heard of your methods, will pay up without complaint. Be sure you don't spend Brynjolf's money before you get it back to him.
Keerava can be convinced by talking to Talen-Jei after she fails to cooperate. Ask him about her family, then use that information to threaten her, and she'll pay up. When Bersi refuses to pay, smash his priceless urn with your weapon to change his mind. Haelga's mind can be changed by stealing her statue of Dibella and threatening to drop it down a well.
Return to Brynjolf with the 300 gold, and he'll reward you with a few potions before assigning you a more substantial task.
Follow Bryjolf, and he'll take you to the leader of the guild, Mercer. The proprietor of the nearby Goldenglow Estate has ceased to uphold his bargain with the guild, and you're to teach him a lesson. Ask Brynjolf about the job, and he'll instruct you to clear out the safe and burn exactly three beehives, no more, no less.
Next ask Vex about how exactly you're supposed to infiltrate this fortified base. She has the answer: a sewer shortcut that leads straight into the base. Also be sure to speak with Tonilia, who will be your first fence. She will supply a THIEVES GUILD ARMOR SET, a very useful set of unique enchanted armor, each piece with a different beneficial effect.
The best way to get into the facility is to find the sewer entrance that Vex mentioned, marked by an optional objective marker. The exit will put you behind the building. Note that if any mercenaries detect you, you're entitled to kill them without being reprimanded, despite the fact that the guild normally doesn't tolerate killing.
First, head to the beehives and set only three of them ablaze, using some sort of fire attack (a spell, a torch, or an enchanted weapon). If you light any more of the beehives, your pay will be deducted. With that done, the mercenaries will rush out to investigate, and if you're stealthy, you can take advantage of this distraction to sneak into the building. Alternatively, you can fight them.
If you're lockpicking skill is lacking, or if you simply don't have the lockpicks to spare, you can find Aringoth in the upper bedrooms and get the key from him one way or another. You can persuade him to hand over the GOLDENGLOW CELLAR and SAFE KEYS, or just kill him for it without repercussions. The best route is to simply sneak up on him and pickpocket the keys. While you're here, collect the QUEEN BEE STATUE, a unique treasure which can be sold to Delvin.
Head down to the cellar and either pick the Novice-level lock or use the key if you got it from Aringoth. After encountering a few mercenaries, whom you can either fight or avoid, you'll reach the safe. This Expert-level lock is tough, but you can pick it. The other option is to use the safe key from Aringoth if you have it. Clear out the safe for gold and a BILL OF SALE, then get out of here.
Present the bill of sale to Brynjolf in the Ragged Flagon. If you followed Brynjolf's instructions, you'll receive a reward of variable gold, and you'll be directed to see Maven Black-Briar for the next mission.
Locate and speak to Maven for the next mission. Maven wants you to put a stop to her competition, Sabjorn of the Honningbrew Meadery, and she sends you to meet Mallus Maccius in Whiterun to formulate a plan to this end.
Once in Whiterun, pay a visit to Mallus, who can be found in the Bannered Mare. You'll find that Mallus already has a plan to bring his employer down. Your goal is to poison the mead at the Honningbrew Meadery, by posing as an exterminator.
Head to the Honningbrew Meadery just outside Whiterun and speak with Sabjorn. Offer to take care of the pest problem, and if you can do so, convince him to pay 500 GOLD up front with either persuasion or intimidation. You'll also get the HONNINGBREW MEADERY KEY and PEST POISON for the quest.
In the next room, head downstairs and descend into the basement. Here you'll be attacked by Venomfang Skeevers, which are poisonous. Descend into the nest to fight more such Skeevers. Further in is a nest of Frostbite Spiders, which have been feeding on the Skeevers.
As you proceed, watch out for active bear traps that can damage you if you don't disable them first. After the next Skeever nest, you'll encounter a hostile mage named Hamelyn. Slay him, and read his journal if you wish to learn that he is the source of the Venomfang breed of Skeevers.
Collect the Sneak skill book from atop Hamelyn's chest, then loot the chest itself. Next to the chest, plant some poison in the nest. The nearby tunnel leads back up into the meadery, into the very room where you must poison the mead vat. Do this by taking the stairs up to the upper floor and opening the vat lid. There's also a chest nearby for you to loot.
Head to the door and use the key hanging next to it to open it. Return to Sabjorn, then attend the tasting ceremony. Sadly, you can't receive the rest of your payment from Sabjorn, but seeing as you're destroying his business, it's just as well.
Inexplicably, the mead in that vat has already made its way here faster than you did. Furthermore, Commander Caius instantly detects the poison with his expert taste recognition and arrests Sabjorn, leaving Mallus in charge of the meadery.
Speak with Mallus to get SABJORN'S DRESSER KEY, then head upstairs to Sabjorn's office. In here is an Alchemy skill book, as well as a dresser you can unlock to collect a PROMISSORY NOTE. Before you return to Maven, also pick the Expert-locked door up here, allowing you to collect a HONNINGBREW DECANTER that you can sell to Delvin.
Return to Maven in Riften and show her the note you picked up. Sadly, the only reward you receive is a random enchanted weapon. Maven will direct you back to the Thieves Guild to inform them of this latest development.
Return to the Thieves Guild and speak to Brynjolf. Brynjolf will redirect you to speak to Mercer, who has another job for you. He wants you to head to Solitude to speak with a contact in the East Empire Company, an Argonian named Gulum-Ei. Before you depart, speak to Brynjolf and ask him for more information on the mission as usual.
Gulum-Ei can usually be found in the Winking Skeever. Speak to him about the Goldenglow Estate, and when he proves uncooperative, utilize your powers of persuasion, intimidation, or bribery to convince him. If you choose the third option, you'll have to steal a case of Firebrand Wine for him before he'll help you. However, seeing as you're in the Thieves Guild, that should be a problem for you. A quest marker will indicate the location of the item you need to steal inside the Blue Palace. While this may seem to be the less desirable option, note that Gulum-Ei pays you for the wine with both information and soul gems (possibly even black soul gems!).
Gulum-Ei doesn't prove too willing to talk, so you'll have to follow him in stealth. You should see him enter the East Empire Company Warehouse. Follow him into the Warehouse, but tread carefully, for the wardens of this warehouse will attack you on sight if they see you. Aim to keep your distance from Gulum-Ei as well, as he has a habit of suddenly changing paths. Potions of invisibility or the Shadow Stone power can be invaluable here.
Note that there is a cabin in the northwest corner of the cave that you can reach from a nearby platform. If you can reach this cabin without being detected, you should definitely check it out. The cabin contains gold and numerous valuable rings, but most importantly, it contains an EAST EMPIRE SHIPPING MAP, which you can sell to Delvin.
Continue following Gulum-Ei to Brinewater Grotto. Here, your goal changes from following him to confronting him. As you enter, trip the tripwire trap manually and then back away, or else simply jump over it. As for the bear trap ahead, you can just avoid it. Two bandits are waiting up ahead, so you'll probably want to kill them. Ahead, you can take the wooden walkway to engage two more bandits, or cut through a spider nest on your right and fight a few spiders to avoid the bandits' location.
There are two paths to the next bandit camp. You can either take a bridge, or go through a tunnel on the left full of traps and a hostile dog. Either way, the bandit camp contains two bandits and one chest with an Adept lock. The final bandit camp lies just ahead, with a large group of bandits. Check the boats docked nearby for two chests, one of which has an Apprentice lock.
Talk to Gulum-Ei, and you'll find him a lot more cooperative. He'll give you the GOLDENGLOW BILL OF SALE, and he'll become a fence for you in Solitude. Look around for three levers (pull them all), one unlocked chest, one Expert chest, and a leveled shield. The levers opened a secret passage leading out to Skyrim, but watch out for some horkers along the way.
Head back to the Thieves Guild and tell Mercer about Karliah. This concludes the quest and immediately begins Speaking with Silence. Completing the mission also unlocks the option to speak to Tonilia about exchanging a piece of your armor. This will upgrade the enchantment of the armor you select, but you can only do this with one piece.
Meet Mercer at Snow Veil Sanctum to start this quest, and he wil become a temporary follower. Climb up to the top and descend the stairs into burial mound, then wait for Mercer to open the door. Apparently Mercer's lockpicking skill is so high that he can pick impossible locks. Enter the sanctum with Mercer.
Up ahead, you'll encounter a fallen Draugr next to chest. When you investigate, two more Draugr will rise from the grave and attack you. The next room contains a sleeping Draugr, whom you can identify by the fact that you cannot search him. This allows you to get an easy sneak attack on him. Afterward, you can pull the chain by the gate, but quickly back away before the spike trap swings and kills you.
In the next hallway, you'll encounter two more inanimate Draugr that you can get the drop on. Just ahead is a pair of bear traps to avoid. Unfortunately, the next three Draugr are quite awake and will not be so easily ambushed. Before you enter the room filled with oil ahead, carefully trigger the tripwire from a safe distance, which will light the oil on fire, before continuing. If he isn't killed by the trap, you'll also need to contend with a Draugr in the same room. When the area is clear, pull the chain near the gate to open it.
Directly ahead is a locked room with a chest and a few other treasures. To the left is a room with sleeping Draugr and bone chime traps that will awaken them. I recommend sneak attacking the Draugr, then grabbing the potions in the corner with impunity. Pull another chain to open the gate at the end of the room.
The room at the end of the next hallway is filled with Draugr. Lure them back into the hall to deal with them one at a time. This is a good time to use a Scroll of Guardian Circle if you have one on hand. When the Draugr have been cleared out, head straight forward and up the stairs to reach a tunnel, which will take you to a room filled with oil. Grap the Ship Model and quickly jump to safety before the pressure plate trap ignites the oil. Across from the oil chamber is a set of stairs leading to a tunnel that takes you up above the previous room and into a new area.
The next room is just as overpopulated with Draugr as the last. It's a good thing Mercer is with you, or these fights would be twice as difficult. Again, anti-undead scrolls can be extremely useful here. Descend into the next room, where a trap will set off bone chimes and awaken the Draugr. Of course, if you can avoid the trap and get the drop on them, good for you. Either way, there's a pull chain to open the next gate.
Avoid the pressure plate in the next room, as it triggers an arrow trap. Proceed through the next hall and battle a Draugr to proceed. Up the stairs, you'll come to a large door at the end of the hall. This leads to a room with powerful Draugr (and a possible Dragon Priest if you are of a high level), but the "boss" is worth it for the Word Wall behind him, which will teach you a word of the Disarm Shout.
From the entrance to the Word Wall room, head left to reach a gate to be opened with a chain. This will take you to a classic claw door. Unfortunately, you don't possess a matching claw. Mercer, however, can pick even a lock as difficult as this one, and with apparent ease. Step into the room, and there will be a scene, and then you will "die." When you awaken, speak to Karliah. You will get GALLUS'S ENCODED JOUNRAL and some poison.
Head to Winterhold and speak to Enthir. He redirects you to speak to Calcelmo in Markarth. To get access to his knowledge on the Falmer language, you'll need to persuade the old man. Alternatively, if you've matched Calcelmo up with the woman he desired in the quest, "The Book of Love," he can be convinced that way as well. Calcelmo gives you the DWEMER MUSEUM KEY if you successfully convince him. Unfortunately, he still won't grant you access to his lab, so you'll have to sneak in. Having access to the museum, however, makes this a bit easier.
Head to the museum and either enter with the key or pick the lock if you couldn't get it. If Calcelmo let you in, the guards will pay you no mind, but if you couldn't find a way to get his permission to enter, you'll have to sneak past the guards. Either way, head for the next door, which leads to Calcelmo's laboratory. The key will work for this door too.
Enter the lab and head into the first room on your left to collect a unique item, the SPIDER CONTROL ROD, which also spawns a friendly Dwarven Spider. By shooting a location with the rod, you can direct the spider to that location. The spider will help you fight the guards here, but be warned that it can be destroyed like any other Dwarven Spider. Unfortunately, the spider cannot be taken out of this room.
If the Wizards' Guard behind on the left sees you, he will open it and attack, so watch out. Be careful of fighting the guards in this area, as your actions may earn you a bounty if they are discovered. The door where the guard came from is sadly barred, so you'll have to go around. Near the next door is a valve, which triggers a dart trap.
Through this door, there will be two guards up ahead: one for the wizards, and the other a city guard. This obviously would be a bad time to get caught if you want to avoid a bounty. There are two traps you can trigger with The Master-locked door ahead may seem daunting, but you can open it with CALCELMO'S LABORATORY KEY, which can also be found on the bodies of these two guards. Don't forget to check the side room on the right, where you can find another CALCELMO'S LABORATORY KEY and some scrolls.
Through the Master door, you'll come to two more guards at the end of the hall. They patrol alongside an obvious trap in the hall on the left, which you may want to check out, as there is a leveled piece of armor sitting on a table in the first alcove on the left, and a Master hest in the second alcove on the right. Instead of going through the hall, you can also head forward to a steam-filled hall. Use the control rod to order the Dwemer Spider to stand on the nearby button, keeping the steam shut off while you pass through. At the end of either path is an area leading up to the guard barracks, where you can find a few guards, but also some treasures (such as a leveled weapon).
Through the next door, you'll find an area overlooking a room with guards and the wizard Aicantar. There's a valve at the end of the hall that will trigger a series of traps in the next room, killing all of them. Turn the valve again to disable the blade trap so you can explore safely. In the room itself is an Enchanting skill book next to a chest on the table. Also in this room is a DWEMER PUZZLE CUBE to grab. One door from here leads to the Markarth Wizards' Balcony, and another leads back around to the first room of the lab.
Head out to the balcony and turn right to reach Calcemo's tower. Here, head up the stairway to the left to reach a room with a few potions, some soul gems (including a Black Soul Gem), a Heavy Armor skill book, and an Expert locked chest, as well as numerous charcoal scribblings. Head through the nearby door to your objective marker, where you'll find Calcelmo's Stone. Unfortunately, you can't very well take this giant rock with you, so go grab a roll of paper and charcoal from the previous room. Approach the stone with these, and you'll create CALCEMO'S STONE RUBBING.
As soon as you do this, numerous guards will enter the room, so make yourself scarce. You can either kill them or just sneak past them. You can shoot an arrow toward the stairs to distract the guards, then jump down and head straight out the door. From this balcony, you can escape via a shortcut: head out through a narrow pass in the rocks and leap into the waterfall. You can now head back to Winterhold to bring the rubbing to Enthir.
Enthir will evaluate the information and reveal Gallus's information about Mercer and the Nightingales. Speak to Enthir, and he will offer to act as a fence for you in Winterhold from now on. Then speak to Karliah, who will reward you with the NIGHTINGALE BLADE, a weapon will a powerful and unique enchantment that absorbs health and stamina from your target every second. The strength of this enchantment depends upon your level.
Head back to the Thieves Guild. The back door will be locked, so you'll have to go in through the Ratway. On the way in, Karliah will speak to you. When you're ready, head into the cistern area with Karliah. Brynjolf will hold you up, but Karliah will provide proof of Mercer's betrayal. To ascertain the truth of Karliah's claim, Brynjolf will tell Delvin to open the vault. Follow them, and watch as the vault is opened.
Speak to Brynjolf and tell him what Karliah told you. He'll send you to break into Mercer's home, Riftweald Manor. Also be sure to ask him about how to get in, as he can tell you about a mechanism in the backyard that you can shoot to lower a ramp up to a secret entrance. Also ask him about the watchdog, and he will direct you to Vex for more information.
Vex will tell you to end Vald's servitude to Mercer by erasing his debt with Maven. If you want to complete this optional objective, head to Mistveil Keep and speak with Maven. She task you with retrieving a quill from the bottom of Lake Honrich. You're not given a specific location, but you should find the Vald's sunken boat underwater between Riften and Honningbrew Meadery. Next to the upturned boat is Vald's Strongbox, locked with an Expert lock. Pick it and retrieve the QUILL OF GERMINATION, then bring it back to Maven, and she'll clear the debt and give you the document VALD'S DEBT to prove it.
Head to Mercer's estate, which is barred by unlockable doors from every angle except the rear. Take the path around behind this line of houses and instead of picking the lock, simply speak to Vald at the back gate and give him the papers. In return, he'll open the gate and give you MERCER'S HOUSE KEY before he leaves. Look up at the balcony above, then shoot it with an arrow, spell, or even a shout to knock the ramp down.
Enter through the balcony, then stealthily take out the distacted guard in the room ahead. Head down the stairs, and feel free to grab the valuable Dibella statue on the shelf. On this floor, there's another guard to take out. On this same level, look in a side room for a suspiciously named "Suspicious Cabinet." Open the cabinet and remove the false back panel, revealing a secret exit. Proceed through this tunnel to a roof with trapped floor panels. Step only on the panels without burn marks on them, and you'll be fine.
Watch out for a pressure plate in the entrance to the next tunnel, as it contains a dart trap. Through this tunnel, you'll come to a room filled with bladed pendulums and a battering ram. Simply time your sprint through the room such that each trap recedes as you approach it. Descend the stairs to reach a door, then run through the door as soon as you open it to avoid another trap. Inside is a small treasure trove consisting of a Sneak skill book, the BUST OF THE GRAY FOX (to be sold to Delvin), and a legendary weapon in an Expert-locked case. Players of Oblivion may remember this weapon: a blue glass sword with a frost enchantment by the name of CHILLREND.
Grab MERCER'S PLANS from the desk, then take the shortcut into the Ratway Vaults and bring the plans straight to Brynjolf in the cistern. Brynjolf explains that Mercer is going after something called the Eyes of the Falmer. Before we pursue this, however, it's time to join the Nightingales.
Right after speaking to Brynjolf, Karliah will convene with both of you, then ask you to meet her at the standing stone to the south of Riften. This is also a good opportunity to gain the nearby Shadow Stone's power, which will give you invisibility once per day. Just below the Shadow Stone is the other giant rock where Karliah waits. Speak to her.
Follow Karliah into the nearby Nightingale Hall. She'll direct you to the Nightingale Armor Stone. You can speak to her first and ask her about the Nightingales. Use the stone, and the awesome Nightingale Armor will be beamed into your inventory. Equip it and follow your newly armored allies further into the sanctuary. As you approach the gate, Karliah will stop and speak, revealing that you are both about to join the Nightingales, if that wasn't clear already.
Once Karliah opens the gate, go stand on the indicated glyph and the ritual will begin, with Nocturnal naming all three of you Nightingales. Speak to Karliah, who reveals that Mercer defiled the shrine by stealing the Skeleton Key, which can unlock any door. This explains how he could unlock all those sealed doors. Before leaving, speak with Brynjolf, who determines that you will soon become the Guild Master of the Thieves Guild.
Travel to the ruin of Irkngthand. Upon entering through the gate, search an alcove on the right for a few potions and an Apprentice-level chest. Further along this route, you will encounter a few bear traps leading to the inside of the ruin walls. Numerous bandits are patrolling the area, so avoid or (more likely) kill them. Head up to the second level and pull a lever to open the front gate.
Take the stairs up to a path leading over the rooftops to reach the cliffside portion of the ruins. Continue across a series of bridges to reach the Arcanex, the first room. Inside, you'll find a slain bandit with a potion, not far from an Expert-locked chest. Proceed forward, and you'll find his companions to be equally deceased. Up the stairs and on the right, a Dwarven Sphere will attack you. That explains the corpses.
Proceed through the nearby hall, where you'll encounter numerous destroyed automatons and another Dwarven Sphere. In the chamber ahead, search the chest at the end of the ledge on your right. Now descend the stairs and battle several Dwarven Spheres before entering a roof filled with spinning columns of fire. To pass them, time your steps so that you will move in the empty space between the flamethrowers. Proceed through the maze of fire until you reach the gate, but watch out for a Dwarven Spider. Through the gate, you'll spy an Apprentice chest next to a set of stairs leading up to an elevator.
The elevator will take you to Irkngthand Grand Cavern. Take the steps down and speak with Karliah. Open the gate ahead, but watch out for a mace trap just inside. In the next area, she'll spy Mercer below you, but you can't get him just yet. Head through the next door to reach a nest of Chaurus Eggs, with a Falmer just ahead. There's also a lever ahead, which is part of a puzzle. Well, it's not much of a puzzle as a challenge of speed, as all you really need to do is run to the other end of the ledge and pull the lever there to open the door on the level below. Then you need only head down the stairs and avoid the spinning blade traps in the middle of the room, which will hopefully take care of any Falmer down here.
Through the gate you opened, there's another tunnel (watch out for a bear trap). This leads into a room filled with Falmer. A ramp leading up on your left will take you to a table with some alchemy ingredients. On the opposite end of the room, a ramp will take you up to the next area. Again, there are a few bear traps in your path, so be wary. Look on your right for a note from Mercer: "One step ahead" spelled backwards. However, he did leave behind a few Scrolls of Detect Life, which you may want to grab.
The next gate leads to a chamber with a Dwarven Centurion. Once you slay the Falmer below, the Centurion will awaken, and you'll have to fight it too. Afterward, kill a few Skeevers ahead and take the stairs up to the next level. Slay the remaining Falmer, then cross over to the upper level and the door to the next area, Irkngthand Slave Pens.
Destroy the Dwarven Spider ahead. Activate the trap to kill the Falmer below before you descend into the room. The hall ahead has fire traps triggered by obvious pressure switches. Run ahead before your companions trip the switches at your expense. The next room contains a horde of Falmer, though they can easily be avoided. Proceed through a tunnel filled with eggs to reach another room full of Falmer. Defeat them, then check in one of the lower huts for an Expert chest. Through the next gate is the final door leading to Mercer.
Pass through the door, and you'll see Mercer taking the Eyes of the Falmer. Of course, he'll detect your approach and speak to you. Afterward, he'll zap Brynjolf with a Frenzy spell, forcing him and Karliah to fight while you take on Mercer alone. Mercer can turn invisible, but you can use the Detect Life scrolls from earlier to see him. Kill Mercer, then recover the LEFT and RIGHT EYES OF THE FALMER and the SKELETON KEY from his corpse.
With Mercer dead, the room will start to fill with water. Just when the chamber seems nearly filled, a group of rocks above the Falmer statue's head will luckily dislodge, opening an escape route to Bronze Water Cave. When you arrive, speak to Karliah. Turns out you'll need to take the dangerous Pilgrim's Path in order to return the Skeleton Key.
On the bright side, Karliah gives you her NIGHTINGALE BOW, a leveled weapon that deals both frost and shock damage. Also, until you complete the next quest, you'll be able to hold onto the Skeleton Key, which makes your lockpicks unbreakable, as if you had the Unbreakable perk.
When you're ready to part with the Skeleton Key, head to the Twilight Sepulcher and enter the door. Speak to the Nightingale Sentinel at the stairs. Turns out that he's the ghost of Gallus, former leader of the Thieves Guild, and he is last of Nocturnal's Sentinels. Well, the rest are still around, they've just gone crazy. You'll have to head through Pilgrim's Path while the other Nightingale Sentinels attack you.
Before you head into the entrance at the top of the stairs, ask Gallus about the dangers you'll face. You'll receive an optional objective to retrieve NYSTROM'S JOURNAL from a corpse in this chamber. The journal offers some cryptic information about the dangers that lie within the Pilgrim's Path. Also check the satchel lying next to him for some treasures. When you're ready, head on in.
The initial tunnel leads to a door, behind which is a chamber with a Nightingale Sentinel that makes for an easy sneak attack, as he's facing away from you. If you kill him without alerting the others, you can head up to the room on the ledge to the left and kill another Sentinel as he mixes a potion at the alchemy lab. Check the table for ingredients before you exit. On the opposite ledge, there are several rare ingredients and potions to gather before entering the next room. In the hall ahead, hop over the pressure plate on the floor to avoid a dart trap. A Sentinel awaits at the top of the stairs just ahead. If she engages you, you may be able to lure her into the dart trap to help kill her.
The door just ahead leads to a very different challenge: a room where the light will injure you. To proceed, walk through the shadows and ascend a set of stairs, but step back to avoid a dart trap at the top. From here, head forward through the shadowed area to a ledge behind the next platform with stairs leading up. Take the stairs, but again be wary of a dart trap as you cross the bridge. On the other side, head up and take the stairs down to the right while avoiding a third dart trap at the bottom. Finally, take the narrow shadow path to the exit.
Next up is the third challenge of Pilgrim's Path. Search a chest, then proceed to a shrine with a dead bandit and an offering. Of course, Nocturnal cares nothing for sacrifices like this. Follow the journal's hint and extinguish the braziers to create "that which cannot be seen, felt, or carried:" darkness. This will open a secret exit behind the shrine.
You'll approach a hall of swiming pendulums next, but I don't recommend trying to run through it, as numerous pressure switches will activate dart traps, spears, and a battering ram behind the door itself. Instead, unlock the Master door to the left. Normally, this would be a worrisome challenge, but you possess the Skeleton Key, so your pick will never break no matter how much trouble you have with this door.
This side door leads to a chamber guarded by additional Sentinels on the opposite ledge. The chamber itself contains some valuables, including a Lockpicking skill book. The two ledges connect on a path to the Inner Sanctum. The other path leads back to the trapped door from before.
Inside the Inner Sanctum, head forward and through a door to reach a precipitous drop into a well. Drop down and search the skeleton for a note, revealing that you are stuck down here. After a minute or so, your character will produce the Skeleton Key, which will "unlock" the floor and allow you to drop down to the Ebonmere. Place the Skeleton Key into the Ebonmere, and Nocturnal will appear before you in physical form.
Nocturnal will disappear after speaking to you. Speak to Karliah and she'll reveal that you can now become an Agent of Nocturnal, but you must choose one of three roles, each of which includes a once-per-day power. Step onto the full moon to become the Agent of Strife, which gives you a spell that absorbs 100 health. Step onto the half moon to become the Agent of Subterfuge, whose power can cause any target to frenzy and attack its allies. Step onto the crescent moon to become the Agent of Shadow, with the power to become invisible every time you enter sneak mode during a two minute period. You can always return to change your choice after a day passes. You'll get the achievement "Darkness Returns" for completing the Thieves Guild questline.
Unlike the other guild-like factions, you won't directly encounter the Dark Brotherhood during the Main Quest. However, you've probably done something to make someone want you dead, so you've probably been attacked by Dark Brotherhood assassins at least once. Interested in becoming one of them? Read on.
Hang around Windhelm for a while, and you'll probably hear about Aventus Aretino performing the Black Sacrament. Alternatively, head to Honorhall Orphanage in Riften and speak with the children there, and they'll point you in the same direction. For that matter, any innkeeper or bartender in a tavern might point you in the direction of Aretino.
However you hear about him, head to the Aretino home in Windhelm. Pick the lock and enter to find Aventus chanting the words of the Black Sacrament. Speak to him, and he'll mistake you for a Dark Brotherhood assassin. He wants you to kill Grelod the Kind, a wicked woman who mistreats her poor wards at Honorhall to no end.
Head to the orphanage, located in Riften, and speak with Grelod if you wish. You can tell her of her fate and attack her, but the smarter choice is to kill her from stealth to avoid a bounty. Wait for her to go to sleep, for example, then kill her where she lay. She will scream upon her death, so get out of there before you're suspected.
Return to Aventus for your reward: the ARETINO FAMILY HEIRLOOM, which is just a pretty necklace, though surely it will fetch a decent price. After this quest, you'll likely be approached by a courier, bearing a message from the Dark Brotherhood. This begins the next quest.
Once the previous quest is complete, find a bed and go to sleep, and you should find yourself... in a completely different place. Unfortunately, the trigger on this can be a bit glitchy, and you may find yourself in the same place you were when you went to sleep. Try waiting for the courier to deliver the message and then sleep again, and try sleeping for 24 hours, just in case. If it doesn't work, wait a day or two, then try again. Eventually, you should end up in a mysterious shack with Astrid, a Dark Brotherhood assassin, and three captives.
Speak to Astrid, who will demand that you deduce which of the three captives has a bounty on them, and kill them. You may speak to each of them first, and use coercion to convince each one to reveal their faults. You can kill whichever one you think is guilty. Alternatively, if you refuse to kill any of these poor people, you can choose to kill Astrid herself, although this will cut your Dark Brotherhood career short and make you an enemy of this guild of highly trained assassins for life.
Assuming you didn't do that, go speak to Astrid again. She will tell you that it didn't really matter who you chose to kill, because they were all innocent! That's a relief. Now that you've repaid your debt to the Dark Brotherhood, Astrid invites you to join her Sanctuary, and gives you the ABANDONED SHACK KEY so that you may leave. From here, your next goal is the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, located in Pine Forest.
When you approach the entrance, a disembodied voice will ask, "What is the music of life?" Reply "silence, my brother" (the password you got from Astrid) to gain entry. Inside, speak to Astrid, who will give you the SHROUDED ARMOR SET. Each piece of this armor has an encantment that's perfect for a stealthy assassin, especially the muffled boots and the gloves that multiply your backstab damage.
Head down into the sanctuary, where you will meet the rest of the brotherhood, who are happily discussing the murders they have committed. What a friendly bunch they are! Which is surprising, considering the nature of their work. Once they are done telling their stories, you can speak to each member to learn more about them.
There are a few goodies to be found in the sanctuary. In one of the rooms, there's a STONE OF BARENZIAH, which is part of the quest, "Leave No Stone Unturned." A bit further in, you can find a Word Wall, which is certainly a pleasant surprise. The wall contains a Word of Power that's perfect for an assassin: Marked for Death, which makes one target extra vulnerable for a set time.
Speak with the Redguard assassin named Nazir, who has some basic assassination contracts for you. These are basically radiant quests for the Dark Brotherhood, and much like in the Companions, it is mandatory that you complete at least one of these for the moment in order to advance your progress in the critical questline for this faction.
There are three side missions you can receive at this point. Narfi, a beggar who has defaulted on his debt, can be found in Ivarstead, and can require stealth due to the public nature of the area. Ennodius Papius can be found at Anga's Mill, in an isolated by the stream, making him easy to kill without incurring a bounty. Finally, Beitild can be found in Dawnstar. Again, a public killing is not advised, so you should instead try killing her in the safety of her home.
Completing any of these missions will unlock the next mission, Sentenced to Death. That mission will start when you return to the Sanctuary, where you will find that another brother, Cicero, has joined your little family. After the scene, don't forget to visit Nazir so that you can be paid for your mission.
Once Cicero's less-than-warm welcome has concluded, speak to Astrid for your first big contract as a member of the Dark Brotherhood. Head to Markarth to speak with Muiri at the Hag's Cure about the conditions of her Black Sacrament. For some reason, the official strategy guide lists this same mission as "Sentenced to Death." It seems like there's a rule that they have to throw in a bunch of mistakes whenever they write those paper strategy guides.
This is also your first chance, to get to know Cicero, the crazy jester guy. Cicero's first impression will be changed if you previously completed the side quest, "Delayed Burial," in which you could choose to either help him, to his delight, or report him to the guards, in which case he's obviously not too pleased with you. With Cicero's appearance here, it will no longer be possible to complete Delayed Burial, though you're honestly not missing anything important besides a little character development for Cicero.
Once you find Muiri, listen to her story about the bandit who stole her heart, and then stole everything from her friends, the Shatter-Shield family of Windhelm, who then proceeded to disown her. You'll be pulling double duty on this one: while you are required to kill the bandit, but you are also asked to kill Nilsine Shatter-Shield as well. It doesn't matter who you kill first, but if you want to complete the optional objective, don't return to Muiri until you've done the deed. Muiri also gives you 2 LOTUS EXTRACTS, deadly poisons that will certainly come in handy, whether in this mission or another situation.
The bandit can be found in the Raldbthar Consortium. Don't ask me how to pronounce that. Anyway, there are three guards outside the entrance, so take them out however you wish. Inside, you'll encounter two more of them. At the end of the hall is a gate with a Master lock, but you'll probably want to avoid that challenge and head down the ramp instead.
There are multiple tricks to help you kill your mark, Alain. From the upper path, you can make use of the levers to rain arrows down on his whole group. Even better, you can use fire to light the oil he's standing in. Afterward, take his cohorts down and loot his body for the exclusive AEGISBANE. Once he's done in, there's more to this ruin to explore, but your mission here is done.
For your optional target (and special reward), head to Windhelm and locate Nilsene Shatter-Shield. Though physically weak, it will be tough to kill this lady in town or among her family. The best time to take her life is at night, when she's at home or on the path leading to her home. Don't forget that you have those Lotus Extract poisons on hand, if you're having trouble one-shotting her.
With the mission complete, return to Muiri. The standard reward is gold, but if you killed Nilsine, you get a little bonus: MUIRI'S RING. This handy ring will boost your alchemy by 15%, though if that's underleveled for you by this point, you can disenchant it to make something better. Head on back to the Sanctuary and speak with Astrid.
It seems Astrid is concerned about Cicero. Who wouldn't be? At night, she hears him whispering to someone in the Night Mother's chamber. Obviously, he must be conspiring against the Brotherhood, as there's no way a crazy person would just be talking to himself. There's no other explanation. In order to stop what obviously must be a wicked plot, you'll have to hide IN THE NIGHT MOTHER'S COFFIN to eavesdrop on him. Gross... Do you hate Astrid yet? She only gets worse.
Head to the Night Mother's chamber and lock yourself in her coffin. In case it wasn't already obvious, Cicero is just having a one-sided conversation with the Night Mother. However, surprisingly, the Night Mother starts to speak to you! Surprise, that makes you the Listener. Then the coffin doors come open and Cicero catches you "defiling" the Night Mother. Surely he doesn't mean...
Cicero is initially mad, but once you tell him that you're the Listener, suddenly you're his best friend. Astrid comes in next, and instead of revering the Night Mother's order, she decides that she'll think about it and have you do something else instead. Considering that the Night Mother is the real matriarch of the Dark Brotherhood, it wouldn't do to make her angry, but... well, it's Astrid. She's not too bright.
Go to Nazir to do some side contracts. He's got two new ones for you: Hern and Lurbuk. The former is a vampire living at Half-Moon Hill. The trick is to approach him during the day so that he doesn't attack you on sight. Lurbuk is pretty much the opposite situation. He's a bard in Morthal, but fortunately he likes to hang out in a separate room, so killing him undetected is relatively easy.
Return to Astrid after completing a sufficient number of side missions, and she'll finally decide to send you to complete the Night Mother's mission. Head to Volunruud crypt to meet with Amaund Motierre, but don't forget to collect payment for your last side mission from Nazir before you go.
Volunruud is guarded by Draugr, but fortunately, you don't have to go very far into the ruin to find Amaund. In this dungeon, you can also find HEDDIC'S VONUNRUUD NOTES, which are part of the quest, "Silenced Tongues." This quest will ultimately lead you to a Word Wall with Aura Whisper, which is basically a universal Detect Life/Dead.
The southwest area of the ruin contains Amaund and his protector, Rexus. As it turns out, Amaund has a grand scheme to assassinate the Emperor himself. Amaund gives you a JEWELED AMULET for payment and AMAUND MOTIERRE'S SEALED LETTER. If you read the letter, Astrid will berate you, but no real harm comes from it.
Next, you're sent to speak with Delvin Mallory at the Ragged Flagon about fencing the amulet, which is certainly an interesting crossover if you've already started the Thieves Guild questline. Delvin takes one look at the jewel and recognizes it as belonging to the Elder Council. He writes you a LETTER OF CREDIT to give to Astrid as payment.
Return to Astrid, who is forming plans on how to draw the Emperor to Skyrim. One would think you could simply go to the Imperial City and kill him, but the obvious problem is that the aforementioned city is inacessible in this game. It seems that's one of those situations where the story hinges on an illogical gameplay element. Anyway, this quest is over.
Astrid's plan requires you to attend a wedding. The Dark Brotherhood sure has its perks. One thing, though: you have to kill the bride. As it turns out, Vittoria Vici is the Emperor's cousin, so this will serve to draw the Emperor out. There's no completing this mission undetected, no matter how good you are. In fact, there's a bonus in it for you if you make it extra dramatic and kill her while she's up on the balcony making a speech.
Head to Solitude and find the wedding site, the courtyard near the temple. There certainly are some prominent people here. You can shoot her while she's up on the balcony (or even get behind her and stab her), but there are some neater tricks you can try.
Babette's idea, if you asked her, is to kill Vittoria by pushing down the old statue above the balcony to land on Vittoria and kill her. You'll have to head up to the area overlooking the balcony to accomplish this. Also, if you spoke to Gabriella, she's left a special bow called FIRINIEL'S END on a parapet across from the balcony, which you can access from a side door. There are some other goodies up there for you too.
Once you've killed Vittoria (preferably mid-speech) one way or another, get your butt out of Solitude, because you'll be in big trouble. Run to one of the city exits and keep running until you lose the guards. An invisibility potion (or spell, or power) can help you disappear once you've put some distance between yourself and the guards.
Once you're in the clear, head back to the Dark Brotherhood and speak to Astrid. This time, the basic reward is a special power, Summon Spectral Assassin, and the bonus reward is gold. By the way, that Spectral Assassin is Lucien Lachance, the speaker of the Dark Brotherhood from Oblivion. You can summon him once per day, and even talk to him about your current mission. Awesome!
For your next quest, Astrid instructs you to speak with Gabriella for details on your next mission. Your target is Gaius Maro, a member of the Penitus Oculatus (the Emperor's personal guard, who have replaced the Blades). Furthermore, you must make it appear that he was part of a plot to kill the Emperor, and you are given an INCRIMINATING LETTER for this purpose.
Gaius also has information you need: the identity of the mysterious "Gourmet," who will be cooking the Emperor's private dinner. For a bonus in this mission, you must kill Gaius while he is away from Dragon Bridge, but not while he's on the road. To do this, you'll need his travel schedule.
Unless you're satisfied with just killing Gaius at Dragon Bridge, you'll want to get your hands on GAIUS MARO'S SCHEDULE at the Penitus Oculatus outpost. Fortunately, even if you get caught trespassing there, the guards will simply ask you to leave instead of attacking you on sight.
Using the schedule, plant yourself in one of the towns he'll be visiting at the time he's scheduled to visit it, then wait for him to arrive. To avoid a scene, you may want to kill him in his bedchamber, but a public killing is okay if you're fine with a bounty. Don't forget to plant the Incriminating Letter on him, though!
Return to Gabriella for your reward of gold, and if you completed the bonus requirement of killing him in town, you also get OLAVA'S TOKEN. Sadly, this token is merely a little trinket for you to sell, as it seems to lack any special effect, to my knowledge.
Astrid reveals that Cicero, angry about Astrid's failure to honor the Night Mother, has gone mad and attacked her. Veezara was injured trying to protect her, and Arnbjorn went after Cicero as he escaped. First off, she tells you to search Cicero's chambers for evidence.
Cicero's journals, spread throughout his room, give some insight into his backstory. Read CICERO'S JOURNAL, FINAL VOLUME for the information you need to locate him. Now return to Astrid, who sends you to the Dawnstar Sanctuary to pursue him and kill him for his treachery.
To aid in this, she gives you the legendary Dark Brotherhood horse, Shadowmere, who is indisputably the best horse in the game. Though the horse is not immortal like in Oblivion, its high health and regeneration mean that it is far less likely to die than your average horse. You'll see Shadowmere appear in a magical burst of energy as you exit the Sanctuary.
Head to the sanctuary door near Dawnstar, where you'll find Arnbjorn. He's been injured, but he's wounded Cicero in kind, leaving a convenient trail of blood for you to follow. Tell Arnbjorn to head home while you deal with Cicero. The answer to the door's riddle was in Cicero's Journal. It will ask, "What is life's greatest illusion?" The answer is "innocence, my brother."
As you enter, be sure to collect the JESTER'S CLOTHING SET, which is enchanted perfectly for an assassin. Follow Cicero's blood trail while listening to his ranting, but be ready for the numerous obstacles that have been placed in your path. The first will come when you attempt to cross the bridge. As you attempt to pass, spears will strike from the sides to try to knock you down. While you're doing this, you can make the next challenge easier by knocking the hanging oil lamps down.
The second challenge is a room full of oil. Burn the oil before entering, or take it out with the aforementioned hanging lamps by the bridge, as a fire trap will incinerate you if you enter carelessly. Afterward, deal with the Sanctuary Guardians, assuming the fire didn't kill them for you. The third trap isn't much of a threat, honestly, just some bear traps in the ice tunnels ahead.
The fourth challenge is yet another Oblivion cameo: the Udefrykte. Again, this guide is for gameplay, not for pronouncing these complicated names, so I can't help you in that department. What I can tell you is that this guy is the ultimate troll, and not just because he makes annoying comments on message boards. However, like all trolls, he's vulnerable to fire. He also has a chest for you to loot.
Pull a chain to retract the spears ahead, then head into the crypt for a battle royale with the Guardians. Just ahead, you hear Cicero talking to you, so you know you're close. Lift the bar on the door, and you'll find Cicero in the torture chamber. Time for a choice moment.
If you're sympathetic to Cicero, you can choose to let him live and leave the sanctuary, in which case he will eventually became available as a follower. Then again, if you choose to kill him, you can get his CICERO'S CLOTHING SET... although it's pretty similar to the Jester's Clothing you already picked up. And you have to fight him, too, and he's no easy kill. But don't let me sway you; it's your choice.
Regardless of what you did, it's time to head back to Astrid. That was an unintentional rhyme. Tell her that Cicero is dead, even if you know for a fact that he's alive and well. The next few quests are pretty awesome, so it's worth taking orders from Astrid for a little while longer, even if you chose Cicero over her. Not like you have a choice...
Remember that Gourmet guy? You'll be going after him, next. The tricky part? He's anonymous. However, this is all necessary so that you can impersonate him and poison the emperor with a malicious meal. So you'll just have to find out his identity, and that means reporting to Festus Krex for the nitty-gritty details.
Krex shows you a signed copy of a book you've probably seen: Uncommon Taste. This book is written by the Gourmet. Turns out that there's a source who might know the Gourmet's identity named Anton Virane. Anton can be found in Markarth in Understone Keep.
Anton can be convinced to reveal the Gourmet pretty easily once you tell him you're from an infamous league of amoral assassins. The Gourmet is an Orc, surprise surprise, by the name of Balagog gro-Nolob. All Orc names sound the same to me, I must admit. He even tells you where to find the poor sod: Nightgate Inn. Regardless of what you tell Anton, you are required to kill him to tie up loose ends. Do it sneakily though, if you want to avoid incurring a bounty.
Head out to the Gourmet's retreat near Yorgrim Lake. Not only is the Gourmet hiding out in the middle of nowhere, he's in a secret cellar to boot. Well, it's actually not too hard to find out about this cellar, as there's an entrance right outside. Descend into the home of the legendary Gourmet, though you would never guess this was it. Speak to Balagog if you want, then cut him down. No witnesses to worry about this time.
Take the GOURMET'S WRIT OF PASSAGE, then take care of moving the body. If you killed the Gourmet in the cellar, there's a marked spot behind the barrels where you can move the body (click the left stick on the consoles to grab objects and move them). If you killed him outdoors, that's okay too. Just dump his body in the lake instead. This should take care of the optional objective, though it can unfortunately glitch up and prevent you from getting the bonus, in which case I recommend reloading to before you killed him and trying again.
Return to Festus with your mission report. You get gold for completing your duty, and if you remembered to hide the body, there's a pretty neat bonus it for you: the NIGHTWAVER'S BAND, which gives 10% bonuses to sneak and destruction. With all the preparations made, it's time to kill that emperor.
Astrid will now give you the honor of assassinating the emperor himself. You'll be taking the Gourmet's place using the writ you acquired from him. Of course, you'll be adding a secret ingredient to the mix: a special alchemy ingredient called the JARRIN ROOT.
What's so special about the Jarrin Root, you may ask? First of all, it can't be found in Skyrim, so this is the only Jarrin Root you'll ever get. Ever. A shame too, because it has a preposterously high multiplier to its Damage Health effect, so much so that eating it will probably kill you, and crafting into a health poison will make a mix that can kill almost anything in one hit. If you want to save the Jarrin Root, for example, to shoot Alduin in the final fight of the main story, feel free to kill the emperor yourself. There's no penalty.
Head to Solitude and find Castle Dour. Commander Maro is waiting for you, so simply show him your writ and you can pass. Maro directs you to the Emperor's Tower to speak with the head chef, Gianna. As you head there, you can here whispers that Maro's son is a dead traitor, proving that your earlier mission was successful.
Go see Gianna and reveal (again) that you are the Gourmet. She refuses to recognize you as a chef until you equip the CHEF'S HAT she gives you. Don't forget to put your regular equipment on when you're done here. With the hat on, speak to her and start instructing her to make the Potage le Magnifique. You can suggest normal ingredients, weird ingredients, or in classic Dark Brotherhood fashion, remain silent and let her figure it out. If you plan to poison the emperor, don't forget the Jarrin Root at the end.
Now you go to bring the Potage to Emperor Titus Mede II in the next room. He will taste the soup and comment on its deliciousness (no matter what, it seems). If the Potage is poisoned, he will die. Otherwise, go ahead and kill him. Humorously, the guards will attack Gianna, believing that she may be the assassin. Of course, you're not off the hook, so get out of there via the only available door.
As you flee... things go wrong, and you get surrounded. Turns out that your plan was exposed, and the man you killed was a decoy. Three guesses who ratted you out (*cough*Astrid*cough*). Battle (or escape) the Penitus Oculatus, then take the stairs to escape. Sadly, it seems almost impossible to avoid incurring a bounty this time.
Head back to the Sanctuary to make sure everyone's okay--wait, what happened to the Sancutary map marker? Guess you'll have to fast travel to a nearby location and walk the distance. There are four Penitus Oculatus agents outside the Sanctuary for you to kill, and a brother's body. Oh no...
The Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary is under attack by the Pentius Oculatus! As you descend, it becomes apparent that the Sanctuary is burning. In the main area, instead of Astrid waiting to give you missions, there are two enemy Imperials. Fire attacks can be useful, as there is oil all over the place to exploit. Then descend into the burning Sancturary.
You will witness poor Arnbjorn fighting for his life. He cannot be saved, even if you kill all of the Penitus Oculatus agents, as he will fall down dead anyway. I like to think that he's already been mortally wounded, and that's the explanation for this. Alternatively, perhaps his death is the choice of Steins Gate.
Anyway, proceed to Nazir's location and help him fight off Arcturus and his agents. Kill the attackers and speak with Nazir. Follow him as you attempt to escape the Sanctuary before it collapses. When you hear the Night Mother call to you, your objective changes to "Embrace the Night Mother." Yep, you're going back in the coffin. Hop inside and close the doors.
There will be a long, dark silence. Long enough to make you think you're game is seriously frozen. Heck, your game might actually be frozen, but be patient, and hopefully after a long wait, you will be rescued and the doors to the light will open. When you think about it, it must really stink in the Night Mother's coffin, no matter how diligent Cicero was in keeping it clean.
Talk with the remaining members of the Dark Brotherhood (just Babette and Nazir), then go visit your betrayer: Astrid. She has finally repented for her blasphemy against the Night Mother and for betraying you, and her own charred body has become her Black Sacrament. She makes you the new leader of the Dark Brotherhood (which, being the Listener, you were already entitled to be) and gives you her BLADE OF WOE (another Oblivion reference). Kill her as she requests; she doesn't have long to live anyway. By the way, the Blade of Woe has a little absorb enchantment on it, and oddly enough, it requires no materials whatsoever to upgrade at a forge.
Return to the Night Mother for your final mission. The contract on the emperor still remains unfulfilled, and that is unacceptable. Weakened or not, the Dark Brotherhood is still going to assassinate an emperor. And you're going to be the one to do it.
Astrid isn't giving out missions anymore, so speak to Nazir. Tell him that the Dark Brotherhood still has a mission to do, and that the Night Mother won't leave the matter unresolved. This gets him motivated again, and he decides to relocate to the Dawnstar Sanctuary. Meanwhile, he sends you to speak with Amaund.
Head to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun, where Amaund has settled. Thank goodness he didn't make you come all the way out to a dungeon again. Talk to him, and he'll help you go after the emperor a second time. This time, the old monarch is lodged on a ship, the Katariah, near Solitude. Ask about Commander Maro for an optional objective to kill him. Sithis knows he deserves it.
Commander Maro can be found at the East Empire Company Warehouse, on the docks. He's not much of a chatty Cathy, so don't bother talking to him. Kill from stealth, if at all possible, or you'll have the whole outfit of guards on your back and a big old bounty on your head.
Conveniently nearby is the Katariah, sitting idly in the inlet. With the empire believing that the Dark Brotherhood is eliminated, you have a bit of an advantage. Enter the ship's hold, which is patrolled by sailors and the Penitus Oculatus. Feel free to search the ship (in stealth, hopefully), but be on the lookout for Captain Avidius. Whether by murder or pickpocketing, acquiring the KATARIAH MASTER KEY from his person, unless you don't mind picking a Master lock on the Emperor's door.
Open the Expert gold door at the end of the hold (the Master Key will work for this one too). There are numerous Penitus Oculatus agents within, including Lieutenant Salvarus. Once you're past those guys, go through the Master door, also golden, to reach the emperor's quarters.
The emperor has anticipated your arrival. He knew that it was foolish to oppose the Dark Brotherhood, but before his inevitable death, he has a favor to ask: kill Amaund Motierre. This isn't exactly a Black Sacrament, but in my personal opinion, if the emperor asks for a favor, you do it. Especially if it's his dying wish. Again, don't let me influence you; this job is totally optional.
Kill the emperor. If you wanted to search Uriel Septim's body in Oblivion for his robes and were angry that you couldn't do it, this is your chance to finally get your hands on the EMPEROR'S ROBES. You can leave now. Don't worry; this boat isn't going anywhere, so feel free to return and visit any time.
Go back to Whiterun and inform Amaund that the dark deed he has requested is done. He has left a hefty payment in an urn in Volunruud, where you first met him. Now he wishes never to see you again. If you want to liberally interpret his meaning (and fulfill the emperor's dying wish that the traitor be punished), you can tell him that you have one last business matter to attend to, and that's killing this traitorous wretch in honor of the emperor. Obviously, neither his bodyguard nor the regular guards will be happy about this, but Amaund is carrying some pretty nice valuables.
Head back to Volunruud and fight off the Draugr for the second time until you reach the marked urn. How much gold is in here, you may ask. Oh, it's just 20,000G! Score. Take your earnings and return to Dawnstar Sanctuary. Tell Nazir that the mission is complete, and he'll ask you how much gold you were paid. It doesn't matter if you lie; you get to keep it regardless.
Nazir directs you to Delvin Mallory of the Thieves Guild once again, and this time you can pay Mallory to upgrade the new Sanctuary, as part of the extra mission, "Where You Hang Your Enemy's Head..." You can purchase some banners (useless), the Poisoner's Nook (an alchemy lab and garden combo), a Torture Chamber (holding four prisoners with information on secret caches), a Secret Entrance (to make getting in and out of the Sanctuary easier), and a Master Bedroom (with a bed and item storage). Even if you purchase every last upgrade, you'll still have an extra 1,000 gold left over from killing the emperor.
To perform this quest, you must first learn the location of the Shrine of Azura, which you can do from any local innkeeper or barkeeper. Alternatively, you can seek it out yourself: it's just south of Winterhold. When you arrive, speak to Aranea, the priestess of Azura. She will direct you to meet an elf in Winterhold. You can go ask around in town to find him, or you just go find him in the Frozen Hearth Inn. His name is Nelacar.
Use some method of persuasion to convince Nelacar to talk to you. Intimidating is usually the easiest option if your level is high. Nelacar explains the nature of the Daedric Artifact, Azura's Star, a familiar item many players will recognize from the old days as a reusable soul gem. Turns out that some necromancer named Varen is trying to use it to gain eternal life. However, here's the catch: you can use his work to create a Black Soul Gem version of the Star that can hold the souls of people, which are the most powerful souls.
Whether you want to return the Star to Azura or profane it for your own benefit, you have to go recover it first. It is held by Varen's followers at Ilinalta's Deep. Enter through the trapdoor on the tower, and proceed to the first fight with a necromancer and his skeletons. Fight your way through these run-of-the-mill minions, and after passing more than a few Satanic-looking altars, you'll come to Varen's corpse, with the damaged Azura's Star in front of it. Take the Star and his other loot, then escape through the convenient ladder in this room.
It's time for a choice moment: you can take the Star back to Azura to have it restored to normal, and you will gain a Dark Elf mage as a follower. On the other hand, you can go back to Nelacar and have him complete Varen's upgrades, allowing the Star to hold black souls (all of which are grand souls, even those of the lowly peasant) instead of normal creature souls.
If you choose Azura's Star and the follower, return to the Shrine of Azura and speak with the priestess, who tells you to place the Star on the altar. When you do this, Azura will speak to you directly. She will inform you that the Star is occupied by the soul of Varen, and that it is useless until he is removed. It seems you'll just have to use her Daedric power to enter the star as a soul and deal with him yourself.
Basically the same thing happens if you report to Nelacar. The Star can't be completed until the occupant, the soul of Varen, is removed. Now, without a Daedra to help you, Nelacar has a slightly different way of getting you in and out of the Star: he's going to soul trap you. You won't die, but your body will kept be in a near death state, and if your soul is destroyed, you really will die. However, if you succeed, your soul can be recovered, and you won't be trapped inside Azura's Star.
When you're ready, accept your sponsor's offer and have yourself sent into the Star. It looks pretty awesome from the inside of a soul gem, I have to say. Varen will be inside as well, and he'll conjure Dremora to attack you. This is one of few opportunities in the game to fight Dremora, so be sure to recover their hearts as soon as you kill them, because when you proceed to Varen and kill him, you will be pulled back out of the star shortly afterward. Therefore, be sure to loot his body immediately if you want anything on him. I haven't the slightest idea how these items you get as a soul are making it back to the physical world.
It's time for your reward. If you sided with Azura, she gives you the repaired AZURA'S START, a grand soul gem that is emptied when used instead of being destroyed, and her priestess Aranea will agree to follow you if you speak to her. On the other hand, if you sided with Nelacar, you get the BLACK STAR, a black soul gem that works just like Azura's Star, except only for black souls. The Black Star is definitely the better artifact, but if you're not big on soul trapping in the first place, you might prefer the magic-wielding follower, as there aren't too many of those in the game.
First of all, this quest requires that you be at least level 30. After this prerequisite is met, you may find a book called Boethiah's Proving, which provides you with the Shrine of Boethiah's location. You may find this as random loot, or on the corpse of a Boethiah Cultist. You can also find the place yourself, located east of Windhelm, but it does you no good if you haven't reached the appropriate level, as no one will be there.
Several Boethians are battling it out, but don't join the fray. Instead, speak to the priestess and convince her that Boethiah's the Daedric Prince for you. She challenges you to prove your wickedness by sacrificing a follower to Boethiah. It can be any follower of your choosing, but you should obviously pick one that you don't have much use for. If you've had it with Lydia saying "I am sworn to carry your burdens" all the time, then this is your chance to dispose of her.
Bring your desired follower back to the shrine and make your follower use the Pillar of Sacrifice. You're supposed to use the Blade of Sacrifice here, but it can actually be any weapon. The best one to use is the Ebony Blade, as killing a follower with it should increase its power. When the follower is dead, his or her corpse will be possessed by Boethiah. Boethiah doesn't like suck-ups, so don't bother trying to butter her up.
After your conversation, Boethiah orders all of her followers to battle it out until only one is left standing. There will be about five of them, give or take. They will actually fight each other, so you can wait for them kill each other and then finish the survivor, who will promptly be possessed by Boethiah. She now tasks you with killing the entire population of Knifepoint Ridge, and she would prefer that you do it by stealth.
You can wait until nightfall and go through the trouble of using muffle and/or invisibility to ensure that you go undetected during your stealthed killing spree. Alternatively, you can completely ignore Boethiah's demand and go charging into the camp, slashing off heads with reckless abandon. Descend into the mine until you discover your ultimate target, the Champion of Boethiah. Kill him and take his unique armor, the EBONY MAIL. This is not to be confused with regular Ebony Armor; it's actually a Daedric Artifact! Put it on, and Boethiah will speak to you.
Boethiah is pleased with your accomplishment, conferring the mail onto you and giving you her blessing. The mail is a piece of heavy armor, but it's surprisingly good for stealth, as it has the muffle enchantment and a shroud effect that makes you harder to detect while sneaking. This effect also happens to look really cool. Finally, the armor deals poison damage to nearby enemies, and it can somehow distinguish friend from foe. This is interesting, as this is your only way to inflict poison damage other than by using a poison on your weapon.
The minimum level requirement for this quest is level 10. If you're at least level 10, then if you head down to Falkreath, you can talk to the Imperial Soldier at the gate, who will ask about a dog and direct you to Lod the blacksmith. Alternatively, speak to Lod himself to start the quest; he can be found around his forge or in his shop. Turns out that he wants you to find his dog. You can use persuasion to get some more money out of him too. You'll get some meat for the purpose of luring the dog.
If you head out of Falkreath and listen for the sound of barking, you should be able to locate the dog, Barbas. He talks to you and asks you to help him resolve a dispute with his master. Just to clarify: yes, the dog is speaking to you. The dog will become a temporary follower until you reach the Shrine of Clavicus Vile. Don't bother trying to return the dog to Lod; he won't follow you back, but you can still tell the blacksmith that you tried your best and get a tiny sum of gold.
If you didn't go straight to the destination, but instead went off somewhere outside Clavicus Vile's influence, the dog will have gone ahead to Haemar's Shame, the location of the Shrine of Clavicus Vile. Unfortunately, reaching the shrine won't be easy, as you'll have to fight off bloodthirsty vampires within the first section, Haemar's Cavern. After passing them, you'll come to a chamber with a spiraling ramp leading down to Haemar's Shame proper.
No, you're not there yet. First you must fight the Frostbite Spider down here. Then pollow the lit path through this area, until you come to a tunnel after passing a stream. The tunnel will take you to the shrine, which is populated by more vampires. Kill the lot of them, then approach the shrine. Vile demands that you earn Barbas's redemption by retrieving his axe from Rimerock Burrow, and offers you a reward. Pull the nearby chain to reveal the usual easy shortcut out of here, then head to the burrow.
The burrow is located on the side of a mountain near Solitude, and is most easily reached by a tiny nearby bridge. When you arrive, you'll be met by Sebastian Lort, a conjurer who summons an Atronach and attacks you. In the burrow, you'll also find the prize you sought: the RUEFUL AXE. With the axe in hand, return to the now abandoned Haemar's Shame and present it to Clavicus Vile. He offers to let you keep the axe, if you kill Barbas. Note that if you choose to do this, you can't get the achievement for collecting all the Daedric items, because the axe is just a regular axe.
If you refuse to kill the poor pup, Clavicus will be upset with you, but Barbas will be thankful to be reunited with his master. He will make Clavicus keep his end of the deal, and you will be compensated with the real Daedric item of this prince, the MASQUE OF CLAVICUS VILE. This gives you a slight magicka bonus when worn, but more importantly, it significantly improves your powers of persuasion and barter.
You'll automatically encounter this quest in the course of the main quest. Septimus Signus, the same crazy geezer who helped you find the Elder Scroll, was trying to open a huge Dwemer container at his outpost far to the north. Now, hopefully when you got the Elder Scroll, you remembered to collect the Runed Lexicon from Blackreach before you left, or you'll have to go all the way back to the Tower of Mzark in Blackreach to get it back. To proceed past the Main Quest aspect of this quest, you must be level 15 or higher.
Return to Septimus Signus's outpost and present the Runed Lexicon to him, and the real challenge of this quest starts. Unfortunately, it seems that opening the container will require Dwemer blood. Problem is, the Dwemer are extinct. Septimus has an idea, however: he can use the blood of all the other "Mer" races to simulate Dwemer blood. This means you'll have to use his ESSENCE EXTRACTOR to extract blood from one of each type of elf, plus that of a Falmer and an Orc (or "Orsimer"). Your target has to be dead, so you have to find one of each elf that you can affort to kill. On your way out, Hermaeus Mora will speak to you and ask you to replace Septimus as his emissary.
Falmer blood is the easiest to collect, as they are common enemies in Blackreach and Dwarven Ruins. The Falmer Servants back in Blackreach might even knock a few other races off your list too, if you were just there recently. Orcs are often bandits, so you should find one to kill at any bandit camp, such as Rift Watchtower. The most obvious high elf enemies at the Justiciars, but you can also find both High Elves and Dark Elves as warlocks in any warlock lair, such as Hob's Fall Cave. Wood Elves are the most difficult targets, but you can find an automatic Wood Elf corpse outside Pinepeak Cavern, near Ivarstead. Alternatively, go hunting for hunter camps, as randomly spawned hunters can potentially be Wood Elves.
Once you've collected all five blood samples, return to Septimus Signus at his outpost. He will mix them together and successfully open the Dwemer box. This will cause it to open into a corridor. Septimus questioningly approaches the book within, but upon touching it, he is utterly disintegrated. The book is the OGHMA INFINIUM, an unbelivably useful book that increases a third of your skills by five points each, which is sure to earn you a free level or two in the process. Pick it up for now; you can activate the effect later by reading the book. Hermaeus Mora is pleased with your accomplishment, regardless of whether or not you agreed to be his emissary.
Here's how to use the Oghma Infinium. Read it from your inventory, and you will see a menu of paths you can read. You can choose not to read it yet and save it for later, or you can choose a path. The Path of Might increases combat skills by five each: that's One-Handed, Two-Handed, Archery, Block, Heavy Armor, and Smithing. The Path of Magic improves magic skills: Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Illusion, Conjuration, and Enchanting. Finally, the Path of Shadow increases all stealth skills: Sneak, Pickpocket, Lockpicking, Light Armor, Speech, and Alchemy.
When you first visit the cemetary of Falkreath, you will see a funeral in progress. Speak to Indara and/or Martheis Caerelia, the parents of the dead girl, and they will tell you the identity of the killer: Sinding, who can be found in Falkreath Barracks. Speak to him, and you will learn that he is full of remorse for his actions. He is a werewolf, but ever since he acquired a cursed ring, he has been unable to control his transformations. You can then agree to take the CURSED RING OF HIRCINE off his hands and return it to the Daedric Prince of the Hunt.
Note that if you are a werewolf, you will lose control of your transformation, and there will be a random chance that you will unpredictably change into your werewolf form. This can be problematic, because if you're seen transforming, it's a crime. Therefore, advance this quest as soon as possible to end the curse. To summon Hircine, you must kill the White Stag, the great beast of the forest, which can be found near the location of Peak's Shade Tower. Kill the stag, and an apparition of Hircine will appear.
The Aspect of Hircine tasks you with hunting down Sinding and killing him. As it turns out, he has escaped to Bloated Man's Grotto (interesting name). When you approach the wood surrounding the grotto, the Bloodmoon will appear in the sky. At the entrance, you will discover a group of dead hunters. One survivor, J'Kier, will speak to you, informing you that more hunters have come to kill Sinding for Hircine. Past the fallen logs and the lake, you will come to a jutting rock where Sinding stands.
You can choose either to spare Sinding or to kill him as you were told. Either way you will get a Daedric item of Hircine. Siding with Hircine grants you the Savior's Hide, a unique light armor with magic resistance of 15% and poison resistance of 50%. Alternatively, choosing to spare Sinding will give you the normal Ring of Hircine, allowing you extra werewolf transformations and no more curse.
If you decide to spare Sinding, he was need you to help him fight Hircine's hunters. Head up the stairs and through the ruins to join him in his fight. The first wave consists of two hunters, the second contains three, and the last has three more, for a total of eight. After helping Sinding and leaving the area, Hircine will speak to you. He will be satisfied with your hunt, even if the hunters didn't win. He will reward you by removing the curse on his ring, making it a normal RINGE OF HIRCINE.
If instead you choose to attack Sinding, he will run off to the ruins and kill the other hunters. Run after him and help the hunters fight him to give them a chance to deal some damage, as a werewolf is no easy foe to bring down. At the third group of hunters, Sinding will stop running and face you head on. The hunters will help you fight Sinding, and together, you will hopefully succeed in bringing him down. You might want to keep your distance and attack from afar while letting the hunters take the hits if you're a frail character. After killing Sinding, skin his body for SINDING'S SKIN. Hircine will thank you for your service, and as a reward, he will transform Sinding's skin into the SAVIOR'S HIDE. He'll also take that cursed ring off your hands.
If you're of level 9 or higher, head to Largashbur, the tribal home of a group of orcs, found in the southwest Rift hold. There you will find them under attack by a giant. Feel free to help, but don't hit the orcs by mistake. After the brawl, the gate guard will demand that you leave, but Atub will be willing to accept your help. She needs to perform a ritual to ask Malacath to lift the curse on the tribal leader, and she requires troll fat and a Daedra heart.
Troll fat is easily found on trolls and ice trolls throughout Skyrim. If you want to go looking for one, Labyrinthian is the best place to go, as it is guarded by respawning ice trolls. Dremora, however, are much more difficult to find, making a Daedra heart a precious commodity; we're not in Oblivion anymore, where these things practically grew on trees. Completing Azura's quest, "The Black Star," gives you the chance to get three. You can also acquire two hearts every two weeks outside the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon. Alternatively, you may find up for sale in Enthir's inventory at the College of Winterhold, or you can steal one from Kodlak's room at Jorrvaskr.
Go back to Largashbur and present the items to Atub, and she will let you in, much to the chagrin of the guard. The chief doesn't seem to like you much either. Follow Atub and observe her ritual, which will summon the aspect of Malacath. Malacath is disgusted by Chief Yamarz's weakness and demands that his shrine be reclaimed from the giant leader. He wants Yamorz to reclaim the giant leader's weapon and to present it as an offering.
Yamorz is still a jerk, but go ahead and agree to help him anyway, and head out to meet up with him at Fallowstone Cave. Head inside and stay close to Yamarz. When you reach the cavern area, Yamarz will avoid the first giant, but keep following him, as giants will not become aggressive if you keep your distance. He will proceed to a small grotto with a second giant, but he avoids this one too. If it doesn't attack you, there's no reason to kill it. Proceed into the tunnel with Yamarz, and you will cave to protect him from some woodland creatures, probably bears. Just past the bears is the entrance to Giant's Grove.
Before the big fight, Yamarz tries to bribe you to kill the giant and say that he did it. If you refuse, he will decide to fight the giant himself... and die instantly. If you agree, then go ahead and fight the giant by yourself, but don't expect this orc to keep his word. Collect SHAGROL'S WARHAMMER, the offering that Malacath demanded, before you leave. When you get back to Largashbur, if you accepted Yamarz's bribe, he'll accuse you of trying to usurp him and attack you, forcing you to kill him.
Malacath appears again at the site of the initial ritual, and thanks to your accomplishment, the curse is lifted. Malacath accepts the worth of this orc tribe and makes Gularzob the new chief. As for you, he demands that you place Shagol's Warhammer on the shrine. Upon doing so, Malacath will transform the giant's club into the Daedric item Volendrung, a unique warhammer that absorbs stamina from the target. You are now the champion of Malacath and an honorary orc (if not a real one), meaning that you are allowed into orc strongholds.
After reaching level 20, a courier will bring you a flyer for a museum in Dawnstar. Visit this place, called the Museum of the Mythic Dawn, and speak to its curator, Silus. He has collected numerous references to the previous game, and he will give you a tour of them all. Afterward, offer to help him with the task of locating and reuniting the pieces of Mehrunes' Razor. There are three pieces to collect: one belongs to a marauder named Ghunzul, another to a hagraven named Drascua, and a third to Jorgen, a citizen of Morthal. What a coincidence that all of the pieces have ended up right here in Skyrim.
Your first destination is Hag Rock Redoubt, the location of the pommel of Mehrunes' Razor and the hagraven who possesses it. The area is surrounded by Forsworn enemies. There are two ways in: enter through the Forsworn camp, or ascend a tower connected to an entrance to the Hag Rock Redoubt Ruin. The Forsworn camp entrance will take you through a Forsworn mess hall, but ultimately you'll find your way to the same location on both paths.
On top of the ruin, you'll face more Forsworn. After the fight, climb the steps up to the entrance to Dead Crone Rock. Kill the inhabitants, then take the staircase up to the main area. The door out of here is locked, so you'll have to go into the sacrificial chamber in the next room, kill anyone in there, and pull the lever. This will allow you through the door. The exterior path will take you to the location of a hagraven named Drascua. Kill her for the POMMEL STONE OF MEHRUNES' RAZOR and the DEAD CRONE ROCK KEY. Here, there is also a word wall that can teach you a word of Dismaying Shout.
The location of the shards of the blade of Mehrunes' Razor is at Cracked Tusk Keep, populated by orc marauders (and a good place to pick up orc blood for "Discerning the Transmundane"). There are two guards outside, and after you dispatch them, you can enter the stronghold from the front or go around the back to avoid being scene by the remaining guards inside, if you're hoping to sneak attack them.
You can go into the main entrance and fight Ghunzul's guards, and finally the orc himself. He will drop a CRACKED TUSK VAULT KEY, which will open the cellar vault with the blade pieces you need. Alternatively, you can avoiding this fight by picking the Adept lock to the locked keep entrance, which will take you down into the cellar passage directly. Here, either pick the Expert lock or use the key to open the entrance to the vault. Down in the vault, pull two levers to release the spears blocking your passage, then carefully proceed to avoid tripping two tripwire traps. At the end are the SHARDS OF MEHRUNES' RAZOR. There's no shortcut out of here, so just backtrack to the exit.
The final piece of the Razor, the hilt, is relatively easy to obtain, because its owner won't attack you on sight. Head to Mrthal and speak to Jorgen at the mill. As it turns out, his family has guarded the piece for generations. You can attempt to persuade him by any conversation method, or if all else fails, you can brawl him to convince him to hand over the keys you'll need: the KEY TO JORGEN AND LAMI'S HOUSE and the KEY TO JORGEN'S CHEST. You don't have to convince him, though; all of the locks you'll need to open can be picked.
Go to Jorgen's house and enter, either with his key or by picking the Novice lock. Then locate his chest and open the Adept lock by either of the aforementioned means. Within are the poor man's life savings and dearest treasures, plus of course the HILT OF MEHRUNES' RAZOR. Take whatever you want, and his wife shouldn't take issue with you. With this, you have all of the pieces needed to assemble the Razor.
Return to Silus with the pieces, which he rewards you for with gold. With the three pieces and the scabbard, the blade can now be reassembled at Dagon's shrine. Meet him there, and he will place the pieces on the altar. Dagon does not respond to Silus's summons, but when you step forward, he speaks... and commands you to kill poor Silus. The only reward for sparing him is gold, while the reward for killing him is MEHRUNES' RAZOR, a legendary dagger with a 1% chance to inflict an instant kill. If you want the achievement for collecting the Daedric items, you'll sadly need to kill Silus to get it.
Regardless of whether you killed Silus and received the Razor, Dagon will now open the doors to his shrine and release two Dremora to fight you. Kill them and take their precious Daedra hearts. You can also feel free to enter the shrine now and collect any goodies you find there, though what you find will naturally depend upon your level. This concludes the quest for Mehrunes' Razor.
Receive this quest by talking to Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun after you've reach level 20 and completed the quest "Dragon Rising" for him. Assuming you've already heard the rumor, you can ask him about the trouble he's having with his kids. Turns out that his son Nelkir is behaving strangely. Go find Nelkir, who is naturally an annoying brat. However, he's an annoying brat who's been talking to a Daedric Prince. He'll direct you to his source, a whispering lady behind a locked door in the castle.
Go to the marked door and listen there to hear the voice of Mephala, who wants your help to open this door. The lock can't be picked, so what should you do? Follow her advice and talk to Nelkir, who knows exactly who has the ability to open the door: his father Balgruuf and the court wizard, Farengar Secret-Fire. Farengar will be the easier of the two to pickpocket, as he is frequently alone in his study. Take the WHISPERING DOOR KEY and head back to the door.
Open the door, and you'll find the treasure of Mephala that had been sealed away: the EBONY BLADE. This is a Daedric item, not to be confused with common ebony swords. The blade is initially weak, but its power grows when it is used to kill those close to you. These could be people you've helped out by doing quests or favors, or even your own followers and/or spouse, though obviously these are irreplaceable individuals. Better targets would be minor quest givers who serve no more purpose now that you've helped them.
After level 12, you may randomly receive an item called MERIDIA'S BEACON as loot from chests. After finding it, you will start hearing a voice in your head telling you to bring it to the Shrine of Meridia. If you journey to the shrine without the beacon, Meridia will send you to find her beacon and return with it anyway. Once you offer the beacon to the statue, you will be lifted into the sky and spoken to by Meridia, who wants you to help her stop her Daedric artifact from being profaned by a necromancer. Sounds exactly like Azura's quest, in my opinion.
Descend into Kilkreath temple, directly below the shrine. You'll come upon a pedestal with a beam of light. Activate the pedestal to raise a beacon like yours to reflect the light up into the dragon carving's mouth. Now proceed into the next chamber, where Imperial and Stormcloak ghosts alike will attack you. They must be under the necromancer Malkoran's control. Kill these undead and proceed to use the next pedestal on the steps in front of you.
The doors at the top of the stairs are a dead end, so take the side path to find a location where you'll see the old light beam again. Fight some more shades as you proceed to the next chamber and activate the third beacon, then exit to the balcony. You'll briefly fight some ghosts outside before coming back around to door leading inside. Inside, activate another pedestal, then proceed to the bridge and cross through it to reach a newly opened door.
In this chamber, fight more shades, then ascend the steps leading up to a ledge overlooking the bridge from the previous area. You can now use the final pedestal, unlocking the set of doors leading to the catacombs. Enter the doors, and you'll finally come upon Lakoran and a group of his servants. Fighting them will be easier if you draw them back into the hall instead of fighting them in this open room. Once you use the word wall in this area to learn a word of Elemental Fury, retrieve DAWNBREAKER from the the pedestal.
Meridia again summons you, and she is pleased that you have put a stop to all that necromancy business, not to mention saving her sword. As a reward, you get to keep the sword, regardless of whether you agree to be Meridia's follower or not. Dawnbreaker has a decent fire enchantment, but its real value is in its special effect, which causes undead enemies to occasionally explode with light when killed with it, an effect that will destroy or turn any nearby undead enemies.
When you first visit Markarth, you may have noticed a Forsworn attack on one of the shops. When you leave the city and return, you should meet Tyranus, a Vigilant of Stendarr, who suspects that a nearby house is being used for Daedra worship. After asking Yngvar is he has seen anything strange, he will turn to you and ask you the same questions. Ask if you can help him, and when he accepts, follow him into the house.
As you follow Tyranus into the house, everything originally seems normal. However, Tyranus will hear a strange sound from downstairs, and things will start getting creepy. You'll start hearing voices in your head, and Tyranus will start acting strangely. Finally, the voice in your hand will tell you to kill Tyranus. You might as well, because if you refuse, Tyranus will heed the voice's call and attack you instead.
Once Tyranus is dead, return to the previously locked door you encountered downstairs. The door is now unlocked, and inside is a shelf that you can move to reveal a path to an altar. Attempt to retrieve the mace from the altar, and you will become entrapped by a cage of spikes. Molag Bal will speak to you and chide you for thinking this Daedric quest would be over so quickly. He wants you to turn a follower of his rival, Boethiah, to worship him. You have to agree to be freed from this cage.
Logrolf the Willful, the priest of Boethiah that Molag Bal mentioned, is imprisoned in a random location, a cop-out usually exclusive to radiant quests. Go to the indicated location and find him. After freeing him, you can convince him to ease his suspicions by persuading him that you serve his master Boethiah, intimidate him by naming Molag Bal as your source, or just get him to leave the matter alone by giving him gold. I don't see why you would have to pay someone for the privilege of freeing them from captivity, but if all else fails...
Return to the Abandoned House, where the priest has been led by Molag Bal's will. Follow him to the altar, where he falls for the exact same trap that fooled you. Pleased with your efforts, Molag Bal will grant you a RUSTY MACE with which to bludgeon the priest into submission. The defenseless priest refuses to convert until his dying breath. Unsatisfied, Molag Bal revives him and commands you to do it again. This time, he gets the point and forsakes Boethiah. Now that Molag Bal's wish is fulfilled, he has no more use for the priest, so kill him a second time.
Now speak to Molag Bal, who will unlock the true power of the rusty mace, or should I say, the MACE OF MOLAG BAL. The mace has a threefold effect: it will drain both magicka and stamina from its target, and additionally, it has a three-second soul trap effect. The other fun bit about this weapon is that NPC characters will react to the mace with fear when you wield it around town. Not a bad reward. For fun, you can choose to mock Molag Bal and his gift, but you still get to keep it.
In Understone Keep, you will find Brother Verulus, priest of Arkay, refusing Thongvor Silver-Blood entry into the Hall of the Dead. Speak to Verulus, who says the Hall of the Dead is closed. He can easily be convinced to let you in for investigative purposes by persuasion, but intimidating him is essentially impossible. Of course, bribery is always an option. The priest gives you the MARKARTH HALL OF THE DEAD KEY and offers you a reward if you can put an end to the strange occurances in the Hall of the Dead. If you can't convince him, you can always just pick the Adept lock to get in.
As you explore, a voice in your head will be telling you that you crave human flesh. You'll come across Eola, who is completely obsessed with talking about how great cannibalism is. At least you've got a friend now. Eola is the emissary of Namira, Lady of Decay, and she shares with you the perfect location to sate this hunger in safety: Reachcliff Cave. Of course, it turns out that the dead there aren't just going to lie down and be eaten, as they've come back as Draugr. There's nothing to do but head there with Eola and clear them out.
Optionally, speak with Verulus after Eola leaves, and the strange occurances will have ceased. To thank you for whatever you did to fix the problem, he rewards you with an AMULET OF ARKAY. You didn't honestly expect a big reward from him, did you? The Daedric Prince Namira can offer you a lot more than this penny-pinching priest, so head to Reachcliff Cave and meet up with Eola.
You can choose to accept Eola as a follower to help clear out the caves, or you can keep your current follower (if any) and tell her to wait outside while you deal with the Draugr. As soon as you enter, the Draugr will stir. No easy sneak attacks on the sleeping Draugr this time. One powerful Draugr will be among them. If you have Dawnstar from Meridia's quest, this is a good time to whip it out. After the fight, proceed into the hallway to the next area.
The next room is also full of Draugr. Once they've been dispatched, proceed to the cavern ahead with a crumbling bridge. Head to the opposite broken bridge and jump across to loot a chest, then take the main bridge. Either bridge will take you to a wall with a pull chain, and finally an iron door. In the hall beyond, the final Draugr of this dungeon await, including the usual Draugr boss, this one lying on the table. At the far end of the hall is the Shrine of Namira. When the Draugr are re-dead, speak to Eola, wherever she is. The pull chain in the back provides a shortcut to the outside, if that's where you left her.
Eola is thankful to have her mistress's shrine cleansed, and in addition to a reward of gold, she wishes to welcome you to Namira's service by arranging a grand feast. It's up to you to provide the main course: the body of Brother Verulus, keeper of the Markarth Hall of the Dead. Seek him out and persuade him by some means to come with you as a temporary follower.
Bring the poor sap back to Reachcliff Cave, and take him down to the Shrine of Namira. Eola will convince him that he's been "invited for dinner," and influenced by Namira, he will grow tired and lie down on the table in front of him. Kill Verulus and consume his flesh. Namira will be pleased, and she will grant you the RING OF NAMIRA, allowing you to devour human (or elven) corpses to regain health and stamina. Additionally, Eola is now permanently available as a follower. As a final benefit, you get to meet all of these secret cannibals, many of whom are otherwise upstanding citizens of Skyrim.
This quest requires a level of 10 or higher before it will start. Seek out the Shrine of Peryite, located in the Druadach Mountains near Karthwasten. There, you will find Kesh the Clean, an alchemist who serves Peryite. Before you can speak to Peryite, you must bring him vampire dust, deathbell, a silver ingot, and a flawless ruby. One must wonder how incense is to be made from all these things.
Anyway, most of the items are easy to find. Vampire dust can be found on vampire corpses, deathbell is a common flower, and silver ingots can be smelted from mined silver ore. Flawless rubies are rare, so keep your eye out for them. Alternatively, any of these items can be bought for a price from certain vendors. Once you have all the incredients, return to Kesh the Clean, and he'll mix the incense.
Inhale the incense, and Peryite will appear before you. He has unleashed a plague upon the Breton villages, turning the inhabitants into the Afflicted. Orchendor was supposed to gather them and bring them to Bthardamz, but he has since changed his mind. His betrayal must be punished with death, and his task taken up by you. He promises a reward of a Dwemer shield, a hint at his Daedric artifact. Don't worry; this isn't your average Dwarven shield.
Your destination is actually visible from here. Head down to Bthardamz, which is guarded by the aggressive afflicted, though the plague has weakened them, so they are easily slain. Enter via the main entrance and pull the second lever on the right of the doorway, which removes the spears blocking the doorway. Don't pull the left one, as it triggers a deadly blade trap. You can now proceed to the upper district.
In there, you will come across a gate with a Novice lock. You can proceed this way, or you can go around, but you'll have to kill the Afflicted on the other path. Proceed to a room where the Afflicted have all gathered to get high on some ichor vapors. This should permit you to sneak past them if you don't want to fight; otherwise, kill them, then head to the courtyard. Kill the enemies, then head up to the lever and pull it to open the path. Proceed through the newly opened gate, and you'll come upon some Dwarven automatons to battle. After them, maneuver past the blade trap and kill another Afflicted group before heading into the workshop.
Head into the sleeping quarters, where you will find the AFFLICTED'S NOTE, revealing your target's location in the Arcanex. Now proceed to the green corridors guarded by Dwarven Spiders. You'll come to some stairs leading to the Upper District, so follow them, and you'll happen upon a chest. There's a small drop leading to a door that takes you back into the workshop, but after passing through a hall with Afflicted, you'll be back in the Upper District again. Climb the steps, optionally stopping to loot the dwelling, and finally follow the corridor to the lower district.
Here you'll come across a gate with a chest, and a door leading to a Dwarven Spider group a little after that. In the large chamber ahead, there's a chest to loot in the center. Fight the Afflicted, optionally employing the lever on the balcony to trigger a blade trap. In the courtyard ahead is the main area of this district, populated by Afflicted. Take the door to the study, then ascend to the door leading to the upper balcony of the lower district.
On these upper catwalks, head right to collect a chest, then take the opposite path to a group of Afflicted. You can knock them down from here, but don't take a fall yourself. At the other end is the entrance to the Arcanex. There, you will battle Dwarven Spheres, and at the end, a Dwarven Centurion and a swarm of Dwarven Spiders behind him. After battling through all of these machines, you will finally reach Orchendor, who attacks without stopping to speak.
Kill Orchendor and take his KEY TO BTHARDAMZ ELEVATOR, among his other possessions. Use this to take a shortcut out of here and hurry back to report to Peryite that the dark deed he requested has been done. Speak to him by inhaling the fumes in the cauldron, and he will be pleased by your obedience. He rewards you with SPELLBREAKER, a shield that will protect you from magic by generating a ward.
After reaching level 14, go to any tavern in Skyrim and speak to Sam Guevenne, if he's present. He challenges you to a drink game, offering a staff as a reward. Drink three times and you'll win the game... and black out. You'll find yourself in a temple being yelled at by a priestess to clean up the mess you've made, which consists of Alto wine, a giant's toe, and holy water, two of which are listed on the REPAIR SUPPLIES NOTE you've acquired as items needed to repair the staff you won. The bothersome part of this is that this quest makes Alto wine and giant toes into quest items until it's completed, so you can't drop, sell, or store them. You can't use the toes in alchemy either. The only way to get rid of them until the end of the quest is to drink the wine and eat the toes.
After picking up your mess or persuading the priestess, she will tell you that in your drunken rant, you mentioned the town of Rorikstead. Go there and speak to Ennis, who is astonished to see you again after you stole his goat and sold it to a giant. You can persuade him to forgive you, or you can retrieve his goat by stealing it back from the giant in the nearby countryside. After you appease Ennis, he leads you to your next destination: Ysolda in Whiterun.
Speak to Ysolda, who apparently gave you a wedding ring so you could get married to someone you met in Witchmist Grove. Again, you can either persuade her to reveal that the wedding was going to take place in Morvunskar, or you can head to the grove and retrieve the ring. Turns out you were going to marry a hagraven named Moira, and she's crazy for you. So crazy, in fact, that when you ask for the ring back, she gets jealous and attacks you. Collect the third ingredient, hagraven feathers, and the WEDDING RING. Yes, now hagraven feathers will be a quest item too, making them impossible to use for alchemy, and you must eat them to get rid of them. Return the ring to Ysolda (who ironically is marriageable herself) and she'll reveal what you need to know.
Finally, head to Morvunskar and battle the crazed mages there. Enter the fort there and fight your way down. There was a glitched barred door here that could be opened but not passed through. You'll just have to go around the normal way, descending into the chamber below with even more wizards. Loot the chests below the raised area on your right, as the portal that opens when you ascend the stairs will make reaching these impossible afterward. When that's done, head up the steps and into the portal.
You'll now be in the Misty Grove, a relatively nice looking place as far as Daedric realms go. At the far end, speak to Sam Guevenne, or should I say Sanguine, Daedric Prince of Revelry. Turns out that all those quest items you've been picking up were completely pointless (just in case you ate them, I suppose). He will reward you with the promised staff, SANGUINE'S ROSE, which summons a Dremora to aid you. I personally advise giving this to a follower, who will summon it automatically at the beginning of a battle, without using up the charge. After you get the staff, you'll be teleported back to wherever you met Sam.
Visit Solitude at any level and look for Dervenin, a strange fellow who's very upset that his master has abandoned him. The aforementioned master was last seen in the Blue Palace, in the forbidden Pelagius Wing. Dervenin also gives you PELAGIUS'S HIP BONE for some reason. Anyway, head to the Blue Palace. The hip bone is no substitute for the key to the forbidden wing, so you'll need to acquire the key. The hip bone also cannot be dropped for the duration of the quest.
If you've completed Falk Firebeard's miscellaneous quest, "The Man Who Cried Wolf," he'll give you the key. Erdi can be persuaded to provide the key, and Una will give you the key without any prerequisite. One way or another, you need the PELAGIUS WING KEY. Now go find the door to the Pelagius Wing and enter. Once you're far enough in, you'll be poofed into the realm of Sheogorath.
The Daedric Prince is having tea with Pelagius the Mad, a long-dead emperor whose hip bone is in your possession. Clearly, you're not in the mortal realm, but it doesn't exactly seem that you're in the Shivering Isles either. After the conversation, speak to Sheogorath about Dervenin's complaints. Sheogorath agrees to end his holiday and return home with Dervenin, but only if you can escape from the psychological trap that is the mind of Pelagius. Also, he takes all of your equipment and gives you one item: the WABBAJACK. This is his Daedric item, and it has the power to randomly transform its target, for better or worse.
The first challenge is to head southeast and even the odds between Pelagius's Anger and his Confidence. Use the Wabbajack to zap Anger until he shrinks to a miniscule size, then use it on Confidence until he's big enough to overpower his anger. You can go back and talk to Sheogorath if you want, but you still have two puzzles to do before you're free.
The second challenge is to the northwest, and it features an arena with several unreachable elemental thralls battling it out. Here, you should ignore the thralls, as you can't reach them anyway. The real source of Pelagius's internal conflict is Pelagius the Suspicious, who is watching the ordeal. To end this internal strife, you must kill Pelagius's suspicion, but you're weaponless. Simply blast his guards with the Wabbajack, and they'll turn into wolves and kill him.
The final puzzle lies to the northeast. There, Pelagius the Tormented is tossing and turning in bed. Your goal is to awaken him, by saving him from his nightmares. Zap him with the Wabbajack and his nightmares become reality, with a wolf appearing to literally attack him. Deal with the wolf by zapping it and turning it into a harmless goat. Next, zap the incoming bandit to turn him into Little Pelagius, another representation of Pelagius's torment. Protect the two from the hagraven that attacks next by turning her into the sultry maiden.
To continue vanquishing his nightmares, shoot Pelagius the Tormented with the staff to summon a Flame Atronarch, then shoot the Atronarch to nullify it. Shoot the sleeping Pelagius one last time to summon the ultimate representation of his fear, a Dragon Priest. There's no difficult fight, though; just zap the priest, and he turns into a chest, ending the nightmares of Pelagius. This should conclude the repairs on Pelagius's twisted mind, so go report to Sheogorath.
Sheogorath invites you to come see him in New Sheoth, a city in his Shivering Isles. He now frees you and returns you to the Pelagius Wing, letting you keep the Wabbajack and restoring your original possessions too. The Wabbajack's effects really will be unpredictable from now on; it could turn your enemies into stronger ones, or into harmless creatures. Players of the Shivering Isles expansion to Oblivion will notice that this Sheogorath is a bit different from the first. Could it be that this Sheogorath is the canonical representation of the champion from Oblivion?
This quest also has no level requirement; just head down to Dawnstar, where everyone is evidently suffering from nightmares. Enter Windpeak Inn, and you'll hear an argument about how the nightmares may be caused by a curse. After things settle down, talk to Erandur, who blames the dreams on the Daedric Prince Vaermina, who feeds on memories and inflicts nightmares. To stop this, you must head to Nightcaller Temple with her.
At the temple, you'll learn that the temple is filled with sleeping crazy people, and entering the temple will wake them all up. Lovely. Once inside, just past the Shrine of Mara, Erandur will unseal the secret area of the temple, allowing you in. After he comments on the Daedric item in the next room, he will proceed a bit further to a magical barrier, and a group of orcs will attack! Fortunately, they'll take a few seconds to get up from their sleep, as will all of the other sleeping enemies here, giving you the chance to get some hits in before they can respond.
Erandur believes he can get past the barrier, but he'll need to go down to the library. Turns out he's a former priest of Vaermina, and he's been trying to earn redemption through service to Mara. It doesn't seem that it's been working out. Anyway, follow him down to the library, killing the Vaermina servants and orcs that you encounter. Erandur needs a book called The Dreamstride, so locate it in the library and collect from the nearby pedestal, then give it to Erandur.
The only way past the barrier is to consume Vaermina's Torpor, allowing the user to pass through the dream world to reach a location in the real world. Follow him to the lab, and you'll need to fight off another orc and priest duo on the way. Inside, kill all of the insane enemies within so that Erandur can get to work. Unfortunately, he's helpless to find VAERMINA'S TORPOR without you to pick it up. Speak to him after collecting it, and he'll tell you to drink it.
The dream you experience is of the orcish invasion of the temple in the past. In the dream, you are Brother Casimir, and you're the one who must released the Miasma. Run past the fighting orcs and priests, and head to the corridor above the Skull of Corruption (in the same place as in the real world), where you find the handle that you can pull to release the Miasma. When you awaken, you'll be on the other side of the barrier in the present. Remove the soul gem that's generating the barrier and speak to Erandur.
Retrace your dream self's footsteps from here to get back to where you started in the dream, killing the awakening invaders and devotees as you go. Finally, Erandur will meet two of his old buddies, Veren and Thorek. They reveal that Casimir, the person you controlled in the dream, is in fact Erandur himself, and they despise him for escaping after releasing the Miasma and leaving them to their fates. They become agressive, and you have no choice but to kill them.
Now that he's killed his own friends, there's nothing left for Erandur to do but use Mara's ritual to banish the Skull of Corruption to Oblivion. He begins the ritual, and you hear the voice of Vaermina, compelling you to kill Erandur and take the Skull of Corruption for yourself. It's your choice, but keep in mind that you can only get the achievement for collecting all of the Daedric artifacts if you kill Erandur and take the Skull.
If you kill Erandur before the ritual is complete, the SKULL OF CORRUPTION is yours. This staff's magic power increases if it consumes the dreams of sleeping people. Simply shoot a sleeping person to absorb their dreams and power the staff. This is not considered a hostile action. Note that the dream power that increases the staff's damage does not recharge it's enchantment, which still requires soul gems. If you chose to spare Erandur and gave up the Skull, you'll get him as a follower instead. He's a powerful mage, so it's not a complete loss.
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