In the realm of Skyrim, there are four major “guilds” that can be joined, each featuring plenty of opportunity and deeply robust questlines. These guilds are the brutal Companions, the magical College of Winterhold, the tricky Thieves’ Guild, and the morbid Dark Brotherhood. Ready to complete all of their challenges and become the master of Skyrim? Not without this guide you aren’t.
1. The Companions
A. Take Up Arms
B. Trouble in Skyrim
C. Proving Honor
D. Animal Extermination
E. The Silver Hand
G. Stealing Plans
H. Blood’s Honor
I. Purity of Revenge
J. Glory of the Dead
K. Hired Muscle
2. College of Winterhold
3. Thieves’ Guild
A. A Chance Arrangement
B. Taking Care of Business
C. Loud and Clear
D. Dampened Spirits
E. Scoundrel’s Folly
F. Speaking with Silence
G. Hard Answers
H. The Pursuit
I. Trinity Restored
K. Darkness Returns
4. The Dark Brotherhood
A. Innocence Lost
B. With Friends Like These…
D. Contract: Kill Narfi
E. Contract: Kill Ennodius Papius
F. Contract: Kill Beitild
G. Mourning Never Comes
H. Whispers in the Dark
I. Contract: Kill Lurbuk
J. Contract: Kill Hern
K. The Silence Has Been Broken
L. Bound Until Death
M. Breaching Security
N. The Cure for Madness
O. Recipe for Disaster
P. To Kill An Empire
Q. Death Incarnate
R. Hail Sithis!
S. Where You Hang Your Enemy’s Head…
T. The Dark Brotherhood Forever
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1. The Companions
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There are many different ways to join The Companions. All you really need to do
is head to their guild headquarters in Whiterun and speak to the head cheese
there. You may come across some members of the group out and about completing
quests, and upon speaking with them, they will tell you about their guild and
it will become a Miscellaneous Quest.
Regardless, this first quest will be given to you inside the headquarters of
the Companions. When the conversation is over, follow the Companion named Vilka
to the outside area. He will approach some dummys and start attacking them.
Vilka is supposed to train you in fighting, so speak with him to begin your
combat training. Just smash at his shield a few times until he gives up. He
will then hand you his sword that needs a bit of repair.
The compass will then lead you to Eorlund, Whiterun’s blacksmith. Speak with
him and hand over Eorlund’s sword. Eorlund will then give you a shield he
crafted for the Companion named Aela. Return to the headquarters with the
shield and find Aela. Give the shield to her. She will speak highly of your
early work for the Companions, and will then summon Farkas to lead you to your
quarters at the base.
Follow Farkas to your quarters. When you’ve arrived, you’ll then be given
further instructions by Farkas to speak to another member of the Companions to
Speaking with to one of the leaders of the Companions will give you a new
objective. As a beginner in the Companions, you are basically given the grunt
work to do. Your first objective as a member is to head to the Silent Moons
Camp, which is a bandit hideout. You have to kill the leader of the bandits
camping there in order to successfully complete this mission.
This mission is very, very simple. Simply head to the objective marker to reach
Silent Moons Camp. Outside the dungeon they are hiding in will be a few bandits
and some of them dual-wield magic. These are the more troublesome foes, but
they are still bandits, and can be defeated without too much of a headache.
Once the outside of the camp is cleared, head inside the dungeon.
There will only be about three or four more bandits that are inside the dungeon
and you don’t even have to kill them all if you don’t want to. You can just go
straight for the leader if you wish, which is a black woman in a two-piece.
Once she’s dead, leave the dungeon. Fast-travel back to Whiterun and return to
whoever you spoke to in order to get this quest (in my case, Farkas).
Tell Farkas of your success. Then speak with him again to continue your journey
through the ranks of the Companions.
Farkas will instruct you to speak with Skjor, another leader in the Companions.
Go talk to him and he will instruct you to receive a fragment of the Blade of
Ysgramor. By collecting this fragment and completing this quest, you will be
officially accepted by the “Circle”–the small group of people that lead the
Companions. Go speak to Farkas again as he must accompany you on this mission
in order to judge you for the others.
Once Farkas has been spoken to, check out your map. The location of the
fragment is at Dustman’s Cairn. It’s a little to the West of the Silver Moon
Camp, where you fought the bandits earlier. You can fast-travel to the now-
deserted bandit camp and then walk to Dustman’s Cairn. Upon arriving at the
dungeon, head inside.
This dungeon is extraordinarily linear. All you need to do is follow a straight
path throughout the entire thing, with just one or two hiccups along the way
that will require space in this guide. As you push through the dungeons,
initially, all you will come across is zombies. They can be killed pretty
easily, but then you will come into a room with two alcoves. One of the alcoves
is blocked by a gate.
In the left alcove is a lever. Run over and pull it. The gate will close behind
you and you will be cut off from Farkas. Watch as a group of enemies known as
the Silver Hand surround Farkas. Just when it looks like poor old Farkas has
effectively screwed the pooch, he freaking transforms into a werewolf and kills
all the Silver Hand people. No, you read the right. The dude straight-up turns
into a werewolf and destroys all the competition. Hot damn.
Farkas will run off, still in his beast form, and pull another lever to free
you from your prison. When you see him again, he will be back in his human
form. Obviously this sudden showing of his supernatural powers brings up a bit
of a discussion between the two of you. Speaking with Farkas reveals that all
the Circle members in the Companions are werewolves.
Afterwards, the dungeon returns to linear state of mind. Just follow the path
through, fighting zombies, and any Silver Hand members that are unlucky enough
to step in your path. Beware of them, though, as the Silver Hand members have
a decent chunk of health, and not only that, but they often attack in swarms,
meaning that you should probably try to divide and conquer, so to speak. If you
find yourself overwhelmed by a large group of Silver Hand members, it’s wise to
just run away and look for a tight hallway that will force them to fight you
one by one. Farkas is also a great help in alleviating these pressures of
having to deal with a large number of enemies at once, but at the same time,
you don’t want to rely on Farkas completely as you will be robbing yourself of
Finally, as you keep making your way through this dungeon, you will come across
a large set of double doors that is locked. You don’t have the option to pick
the lock, so it’s time to get snooping. Along the walls will be a couple of
treasure chests. The chest on the East side of the room will contain the key
that you need to open the doors. Loot the chest and then use the key to unlock
The dungeon will finally come to an end when you reach a room with a bunch of
scribbles on the wall in dragonspeak. Approach the wall to gain a new Shout
that lets you spew fire just like a dragon, and then grab the fragment that you
came to this place for in the first place, which is sitting on the coffin right
in front of the wall. But then prepare yourself for a war.
A ton of zombies will spawn in the room. Defeat them all. Just keep fighting
them as they come. Their numbers will probably not overwhelm you, but be sure
to stay on your toes the entire home. The Overlord will pop out of the coffin
when enough of his brothers have been slain, and when he does so, focus your
attention on him. After all the enemies are defeated, it’s time to get the hell
out of this place!
Instead of backtracking through the entire dungeon, go up the only set of
stairs in this room. There will be an opening in the wall. Go through the
opening and then follow the narrow tunnel. Keep going until you come to a dead
end. Pull the lever on the wall to reveal that the dead end is actually a
secret doorway that leads right to the beginning of Dustman’s Cairn! Leave the
dungeon and return to Whiterun.
Upon nearing Jorrvaskr, the headquarters of the Companions, Vilkas will greet
you at the door. Vilkas will then ask you to follow him. Follow him around the
back of the building. You will then be judged by the Circle members. When they
are done judging you, it’s mission accomplished, sucka.
This quest has to deal with fighting trolls, and I don’t recommend tackling
this until you are a bit higher level and are comfortable inside of your
character’s skin. I recommend at least being level 10 for this quest. Anyway,
speak with Aela the Huntress of the Companions to get this quest (or one of the
other leaders, actually). It seems that Darkshade Copse has been overrun by
trolls, and someone wants to pay the Companions to get rid of the problem.
Head to Darkshade Copse. It’s a cave not too far from Whiterun. Once inside,
you will probably find a troll right off the bat. There are a bunch of trolls
throughout the whole cave system, but you only need to kill three. So, focus
on the first one you find to begin with. Trolls can be extremely annoying to
fight as they have regenerating health, powerful clubbing blows, and have a
high defense as well. However, they can definitely be defeated.
I found that using the Flame Breath Shout is highly effective against trolls.
In fact, fire damage actually seems to be the way to go. If you have a solid
defense, another good strategy is to just tackle them head on and hold the
right trigger to deliver devastating attacks, while dual-wielding the healing
spell so you can constantly heal yourself from the attacks of the troll. You
can also trick it into running into an object, which they will almost never
try to walk around, in turn giving you the opportunity to hack and slash the
ever-loving crap out of the beast until it dies.
When the first troll is dead, follow the cave system into another big room,
with water in the middle of it. The second troll will also be alone, and you
should employ the same strategies as before to kill it. With this troll dead,
it is likely one or two or even three trolls will attack you. You need to
constantly run away from them while dealing damage with Dragon Shout abilities,
spells, and then running over and attacking them with your weapon while they
do their yelling taunt. If you can segment them off into singles, then that is
also a great way to deal with the monsters.
After the three trolls you are required to kill are dead, you can stick around
and kill more for XP, or leave Darkshade. Once outside, fast-travel to Whiterun
and speak with Aela. Tell her the good news, and she will pay you your half of
Speaking with Aela again will reveal that Skjor is looking for you. Seek out
Skjor and talk with him. He asks you to meet him at the Underforge at night,
but then realizes that you’re new and don’t know how to find it. He explains
that it is located under the Skyforge, but he will show you where it is.
Wait for it to be night, then follow Skjor outside. He will walk over to the
rock wall the Skyforge is built on and then go through a secret passage.
Go through this secret door as well. On the inside, you will find a werewolf
standing in front of an altar of sorts. This is Aela in her beast form. Skjor
explains that in order for you to join the Circle in the Companions, you will
need to become a werewolf as well. It seems that the leader of the Companions
has actively been hoping for a cure for their ability, but the other Companions
are vehementhly against this.
Speak with Skjor when you’re ready to become a werewolf. He will then begin the
blood ritual. Man, it’s like Lost Boys with werewolves, I tell ya! Skjor will
grab Aela’s wrist and then slit her wrist over the altar, creating a pool of
blood. Approach the blood and press A to complete the blood ritual.
Suddenly, you will be in the streets of Whiterun in your beast form. Run around
and attack the guards. This zany screw up just goes to show that as a rookie,
you really can’t control your wolf powers all that great yet. When your health
bar is depleted, you will wake up outside of Whiterun, with Aela nearby. Speak
with her, and she will explain that to celebrate your transition into
werewolfhood, Skjor has instructed her to help you murder a camp of werewolf
hunters just outside of Whiterun.
Their hideout is really close to your current location. Upon entering, you’ll
see a couple of stakes with werewolf heads on them, and a gate. There is a
chain that you can pull behind one of the staked heads that will lower the
gate. With the gate lowered, turn into a werewolf in the same manner that you
use a Shout. As a werewolf, run through the hideout and kill the crap out of
everything that moves.
While you are in beast form, you can sprint using LB, which makes the werewolf
get on his hind legs and gallop throughout the place. Hold RT to deliver a
powerful attack, while the left and right triggers (without holding) control
your left and right arm respectively for swipes. When you kill someone, you can
replenish your health by feeding on them using the A button. You can also
combine your sprint and an attack to kill a foe with one single move.
Murder your way through the first areas of the Silver Hand hideout, but when
you come across a rat, be careful. Kill it, and then stand at the bottom of the
next stairs you come across. Sprint up the stairs with full stamina to avoid
being hit by a swinging trapdoor. Then continue to murder every Silver Hand
member in sight.
Be sure to save often. In fact, I’d save after each room. While being a
werewolf may make you feel invincible, the sad reality is that they can be
killed pretty damn easily. This is especially true for the Silver Hand, since
they are all rocking silver weapons to specifically kill werewolves. At the
end of the hideout, you will find the leader of this band of Silver Hand
members, Krev the Skinner.
Ignore the other enemies in the room and head right to him. His health is
plentiful and he deals quite a bit of damage. Luckily for you, though, if you
just alternate with LT and RT and swipe at him constantly, his animations will
constantly get interrupted and he wont’ be able to get a single attack in if
you are fast enough. After he’s dead, take care of the rest, and then follow
the objective marker.
The objective marker will lead you to a door that you came across at the start
of the hideout. Lift the bar that was blocking it, then open the door. Aela
will run past you and into the place where you killed Kerv. She will discover
that Skjor came here and has been slain by the Silver Hand. She vows revenge
for her lost comrade.
While speaking with Aela about the death of Skjor, she will also tell you about
a rumor that a ragment of Wuuthrad is in the possession of the Silver Hand.
This unit of the Silver Hand is statinoed at Treva’s Watch, a tower that is
quite far away from any major city. Enjoy the walk, fella.
Upon arrival, you will be disheartened to discover that the walls that surround
the tower, Treva’s Watch, are keeping you outside. Archers of the Silver Hand
will pelt you with arrows from above, but don’t fret! Walk along the wall until
you come across the front gate. Take notice of the rubble to the right of the
gate and use that rubble to platform your way over the wall. Murder every last
Silver Hand member on the other side of the wall, and then enter Treva’s Watch
There will be a bunch more Silver Hand members inside. The treasure chest to
the left upon entering is guarded with a trap, so only open it if you have a
lot of health. Anyway, slice and dice your way through Treva’s Watch. Your
biggest threat here will be the magic users, and even then they are a cake
walk at this point (especially if you didn’t do “Animal Extermination” until
level 10 like I recommended). Use your compass and follow the objective marker
through Treva’s Watch.
You will come across an area where you have the choice to go up a flight of
stairs or down a flight of stairs, with the objective marker pointing in the
room straight ahead. Go up the stairs. There will be some enemies at the top,
but they can be killed easily. On the platform at the top of the stairs there
is an enchanting table that you can use to add magical abilities to your
weapons (by taking away the magical enchantments of other weapons and items and
using soul gems). Use that if you want to, and then open the treasure chest
that your objective marker is pointing towards.
Loot the chest for the fragment. With the fragment in your possession,
backtrack out of this place. Once you’re outside, fast-travel to Whiterun and
return to Aela and tell her what’s up. After delivering the good news to her,
ask her about your next target to start the next quest.
Aela wants you to steal the plans of the Silver Hand from their leader at Fort
Fellhammer. Travel there at once. You will find the fort barely guarded, with
just a few Silver Hand members on the outside. Kill them, then follow the
objective marker to the inside of the fort.
Inside, you will have to fight the leader of the Silver Hand. There’s not a lot
of room to maneuver around in this room, and he deals a significant amount of
damage with his sword, which is very powerful. Use your best Shouts to wear him
down, then hack and slash when he’s off his guard. If you’re using magic, then
just blast the fool and walk around in a circle to avoid his swipes. He can
definitely be defeated, as long as you successfully avoid his attacks.
After he’s dead, go into his office area. Search the chest in there to find
the plans of the Silver Hand. Then exit the fort. Fast-travel back to Whiterun
and return to Aela. Give her the plans to complete the quest, then ask her for
Aela has some bad news. Evidently the leader of the Companions, Kodlak
Whitemane, has become aware of the violent endeavors you and the other
Companions have been involved in as of late. He requests your immediate
attention, so go speak with him.
Upon speaking to Kodlak, he will ask you to take a seat. Sit in the chair that
is across from him at his table, and then he will fill you in on all sorts of
stuff. It seems that the werewolf blood has only tainted the Companions for a
few hundred years. It was brought onto them by a group of witches that tricked
them. Now Kodlak is hoping to find a cure to the curse so he can go to Nord
Well, head to Glenmoril Coven to fight the witches. I must warn you that the
journey is a long one, featuring very powerful enemies, including Hagravens.
I recommend being at least level 15 before tackling this quest. Regardless,
once you fight your way to the Coven, head inside and start hacking and
slashing at witches.
The Glenmoril Witches are actually just reskinned Hagravens. They have a fire
ball spell attack that is absolutely devastating, but they won’t cast it if
you are close to them. To kill these witches, just keep up close to fight them
so they won’t be able to attack you. However, they will constantly heal, so be
sure to deal powerful attacks when fighting them.
For this quest, you really only need to kill one of them. Loot their body and
take their dead when you do. However, you can wipe out all of them if you wish,
but I find Hagravens extraordinarily annoying, so I honestly would just skip
that objective. When you have a head, leave the Coven and then fast-travel
back to Whiterun.
When you return to the Companions, you’ll discover that Kodlak has been killed
by Silver Hand members that invaded. This time…IT’S PERSONAL.
Inside Jorrvaskr, Vilkas will fill you in on the death of Kodlak. He then asks
you to help him seek revenge by attacking the Silver Hand at their homebase,
and to retrieve the fragments of Wuuthard that they stole. Travel to the
Silver Hand base of operations, killing those on the outside before heading
Once inside, start slaughtering your way through them like you would any other
dungeon. They aren’t hard at all to kill. Compared to the last quest, this
stuff is a cakewalk. You will eventually come to a gate, and while it’s hidden
in darkness, there is a lever next to the gate that you can pull to open it.
Then, along with Vilkas, keep killing Silver Hand members and continue through
There is an optional objective to completely wipe out the Silver Hand members.
I ended up doing this by accident just going through the dungeon, so it’s
likely you’ll do the same. Don’t let it distract you. After the dungeon has
been cleared, you will find the fragments scattered on a table. Retrieve them,
then remove the board on the nearby door to return to the beginning of the
dungeon. Leave and fast-travel to Whiterun.
Kodlak’s funeral is currently going on at the Skyforge, so head there now.
After the funeral services end, Eorlund will approach you. He will ask you to
go to Kodlak’s quarters and get the final piece of Wuuthrad so he can finish
building the legendary axe. Go to Kodlak’s quarters and loot the end-table next
to his bed for the fragment.
Return to Eorlund with the fragment. Give it to him, and then he will tell you
the rest of the Circle are in the Underforge having a meeting. Go to the
Underforge and listen to the conversation. They don’t know what to do now that
their leader is dead, and all of them have different ideas about what should
be done. Eorlund then comes in, revealing that he has finished building the
axe! He gives it to you, and then it is decided that the Circle will head to
Ysgramor’s Tomb to return the axe to its rightful owner and to cure Kodlak of
his werewolf ailment post-death.
Travel to Ysgramor’s Tomb. Upon entering the tomb, Vilkas will stop you. He
will explain that you will have to fight your way through the tomb and prove
yourself worthy to the ancestral ghosts of the Companions. He says he’s not
level-headed enough after the bloodbath at the Silver Hand base, and decides
not to accompany you, Aela, and Farkas. Vilkas then reveals that to continue
through the tomb, the axe needs to be given back to Ysgramor.
Approach the statue of Ysgramor in the center of the room. Interact with it to
put the axe back in its rightful place. Then start making your way through the
tomb. Ghosts of long-dead Companions will attack, but they are pretty easily
killed, especially with Farkas and Aela by your side. Keep pushing through the
tomb. You’ll come across a door blocked by spider webs. Farkas will refuse to
continue, and you and Aela have to go alone.
Burn down the webbing and then be prepared for a tough fight. The next room
features a bunch of small spiders as well as a giant spider. Try to use frost
or fire-based attacks on the creature. The little spiders are easily killed,
and will probably be killed with a single hit. After it’s dead, continue
through the tomb. You will come across a gate eventually, but simply interact
with the pedastal in the very same room to open it up and allow you to
Finally, you will reach the burial chamber. You will see Kodlak’s ghost
standing in the middle of the room. Speak with him, and he will instruct you
to throw the witch head that you obtained earlier into the fire in the center
of the room. Press A to throw the witch head into the fire. This will cause
the beast spirit within Kodlak to unleash itself. It’s an easy fight, but
defeat the giant red beast spirit to free Kodlak from his werewolf legacy.
Speak with Kodlak’s ghost for a final time. In his er…dying…breaths, he
will grant you the leadership role of the Companions. Fill the others in on
this grand promotion. There is still work to be done within the Companions,
but you are done with the main questline for this guild. Congratulations!
Farkas will give you your first mission as leader of the Companions (well, you
can talk to other people, but for the sake of this guide, he gives it to you).
Travel to Shor’s Stone, a small mining community, that has been having trouble
with one of its residents, a man named Filnjar (“fill in jar”?). Speak with
Filnjar and then instigate a brawl with him.
While brawling, just keep attacking until his health bar is depleted. It won’t
kill him, but it will mean you’ve won the brawl. Speak with him afterwards to
assure he’ll knock his crap off, then fast-travel back to Whiterun and report
your success to Farkas.
Farkas will now realize that he too wants to die a Nord’s death, not a
werewolf’s death. If you already have a Glenmoril Witch head on you from your
previous slaughterfest at the Coven, then you’re set. If not, Farkas will
accompany you to the Coven, and you will just have to either loot a dead body
you left there or kill another witch.
With the head in tow, take Farkas back to the tomb. Run all the way to the
room where you talked with Kodlak’s ghost, and then throw the head into the
flames, just as before. You will then have to batle Farkas’s wolf spirit.
Defeating the spirit will cleanse Farkas from his brutish werewolf ways.
Speak with him afterwards to complete the quest.
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2. The College of Winterhold – Pending
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3. The Thieves’ Guild
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Brynjolf is a fellow residing in Riften that is actually an NPC you have to
talk to as a part of the main quest. When you speak with him as part of the
main quest, he will offer you a job before helping you out. This is the start
of your journey into the realm of thieves.
If you aren’t talking to Brynjolf during the day, wait and then talk to him
again when it’s daylight out. He will then reveal his scheme. He wants you to
steal a ring from the local vendor Madesi, and then plant it on Brand-Shei, yet
another vendor. When you’re ready, let Brynjolf know, and then he will begin
distracting everyone with a grand speech.
Use your compass and objective marker to find Madesi’s booth. Click on the left
analog stick to get into sneak mode, and wait until you are completely hidden
from everyone before you pick the lock on the booth’s door. Pick the lock, and
then make sure no one is watching again before you start picking the lock of
the jewelry box inside.
I did this a couple of times, and I discovered that to pick the lock of the
box, you almost always have to keep the pick in the center. Anyway, pick the
lock of the jewelry box and then steal the ring. Quickly leave the area, and
head to Brand-Shei, who will be sitting on a box listening to the speech.
Sneak behind Brand-Shei, using the boxes for cover to remain out of sight.
Through the crack of the boxes, pickpocket Brand-Shei. Then place the ring into
his pocket by using X to “give” it to him. Once this is done, casually walk
away. Go speak with Brynjolf yet again when you’re done.
Through the Ratway sewer system in Riften, you will find the Ragged Flagon.
This is the headquarters for a group of people that totally aren’t a part of
the Thieves’ Guild (the first rule of Thieves’ Guild–you don’t talk about
Thieves’ Guild). Speak with Brynjolf once down in the Ragged Flagon to receive
instructions on your initiation into the guild.
Brynjolf wants you to get payment from three business owners in Riften that
have failed to pay his “organization”. They are Keerava, Bersi Honey-Hand, and
Haelga. All three objective markers will appear on your compass simultaneously,
and you can visit them in any order.
Speak with each one of them. They will all be stubborn and they will refuse to
pay the gold. You have the choice to brawl with them to get the gold, so if you
like to take the brutish and easy way out, then go ahead and do that.
Otherwise, keep reading on! With the three of them refusing to make their
payments, return to the Ratway and to the Ragged Flagon to ask Brynjolf for
more information about the three in-debted souls.
He reveals that Keerava has been sexually linked to a fellow Argonian that you
can speak to for more information. Brynjolf also reveals that Bersi Honey-Hand
has a Dwarven vase in his shop that he absolutely adores. Finally, Haelga has a
religious statue that she very much loves, and it can be used as collateral
against her. Return to all three and complete the optional objectives.
For Keerava, speak to the Argonian the compass points you to. He doesn’t want
her to get into any more trouble with the Thieves’ Guild, so he tells you that
she has a family that lives on a farm in Morrowind. He suggests you use that
information to scare her into paying her debt. Do this. For Bersi, simply enter
his shop and smash the hell out of his vase to convince him to pay up. For
Haelga, steal her statue, then threaten to break it to make her pay.
With all their coins in tow, return to Brynjolf with the funds.
Upon giving Brynjolf the debt money you’ve collected, he will take you to the
leader of the guild. Follow him through the Ragged Flagon and into a secret
area. Keep following him to an older gentleman named Mercer Fey. Mercer is the
leader of the Thieves’ Guild. Listen to what he has to say, then talk to
They decide to give you the “Goldenglow” job. They want you to steal the
contents from the safe of Aringoth, the resident of Goldenglow Estate. They
also want you to burn down three of his beehives to try to make him fear the
guild. Well, head there immediately. It is located very close to Riften. Make
your way to the beehives first and use your fire spell to light three of them
With the beehives ablaze, quietly enter the house. You will have the optional
objective to sneak upstairs and obtain the safe key, but if you have a lot of
lockpicks or a high skill level with lockpicks, just starting creeping and
crawling your way to the basement. Once inside the basement, keep going until
you find the safe. Pick the lock of the safe and rob it of its contents.
With the information in hand, return to Brynjolf at the Thieves’ Guild.
It seems that there is someone conspiring against the Thieves’ Guild. In the
meantime, one of the guild’s greatest allies, Maven Black-Briar, an owner of a
very successful local meadery, requires the guild’s assistance. Go speak with
her. She’s usually at the Bee and the Barb, on the second floor. She will fill
you in on the details. Apparently a meadery called Honningbrew is suddenly
backed by more financial gain, and she wants to know where this money came
from all of a sudden…and she wants you to sabotage Honningbrew.
Go speak wth Maven’s subordinate Mallus Maccius in Whiterun. He will tell you
that to sabotage Honningbrew, the lot of you are going to poison the mead just
before a big tasting ceremony, where the captain of the Whiterun guards will be
present. The poison will be ironically obtained from the very owner of
Honningbrew himself, Sabjorn.
Head to Honningbrew and speak with Sabjorn. He will give you the poison. It
seems that there is a rat infestation in his cellar and he wants them all dead.
Head into the basement area and then kill the rats as you push your way
through. When you reach the room with the nest, you will be attacked by a
shirtless lunatic that will fire spells at you. Kill him as quickly as
possible, then approach the next. Interact with it to poison it.
With the nest poison, keep going through the cave. Kill any spiders, rats, and
poisonous rats that get in your way. When you finally exit the cave, you will
be in the room with all the vats. Go up the stairs and approach the lid to the
desingated vat to poison it. With the poison inside, go to the nearby door.
Take the key off the hook next to the door and then unlock it. Return to
Sabjorn and tell him about your success.
Then just stand around and watch the tasting ceremony. The Whiterun captain
will be so disgusted and pissed off by the mead he drinks that he will arrest
Sabjorn, leaving ownership of the brewery to Mallus Maccius in the process.
Mallus will tell you where Sabjorn keeps his papers so you can investigate for
Maven as to who Sabjorn’s partner was.
Go to Sabjorn’s room. It’s located on the second floor. Once inside, loot his
desk. Steal gold from it if you like, but be sure to take the note inside from
his partner. Then fast-travel back to Whiterun and hand the information over to
Maven. She will reward you, and then you should return to the Thieves’ Guild
and tell Brynjolf about your success in the mission.
Report to Mercer Frey for information on your next assignment. It seems they
have discovered a potential suspect, an Argonian named Gulum-Ei, that acted as
the broker for the Goldenglow Estate. You are to get a confession out of him.
Speak with Brynjolf first as an optional objective before leaving the guild for
Travel to Solitude. Your compass will lead you to Gulum-Ei. If you take
Brynjolf’s advice and try to bribe him, he will ask you for a case of
Firebrand Wine. You’ll have to steal it from the Blue Palace in Solitude, so
be prepared for some sleuthing!
Go to the palace. If this is your first time visiting the palace, this is made
even easier as there will be absolutely NO guards near the case of wine. They
will all be conversing about a Side Quest with the queen lady. At any rate,
head to the wine. Crouch to enter sneak mode and just stand by it until you
are confirmed to be hidden. Then grab the case and return to Gulum-Ei. Give
him the case of wine and he will give you a little bit of information. He
admits to being the broker for Goldenglow Estate, but he claims to know nothing
about who purchased it.
Gulum-Ei will then get up and leave. Enter sneak mode and follow him. It
doesn’t seem to matter if he notices you or not, strangely, but follow him
through the wilderness. Keep following him until he enters a locked door. The
lock is at “Adept” level of difficulty, but it shouldn’t be too tough. Pick it
and then head inside. Unequip any heavy armor you have on and sneak through
You’ll want to hug the large shelves. Gulum-Ei is likely to get far ahead of
you anyway, so don’t worry about sticking close to him. When you reach the
shelves that are bright and lighted, stay back in the shadows. A guard will
walk by, and you should be able to sneak by him without any trouble. If you
get caught, don’t fret! You can kill these people without any sort of penalty.
Keep sneaking through the area. There will be a couple of female guards nearby
that almost always hear your footsteps. Take notice of the large boat that’s
close. If you sneak under the boat, they won’t be able to see you at all. They
will then walk off in different directions, leaving you the opportunity to
keep sneaking and pursuing Gulum-Ei. He will walk into the water and snake
around to a secret door, so follow him more and head through the door.
This next area features a bunch of bandits and somehow Gulum-Ei has made it all
the way to the end of the dungeon. Re-equip your armor and then kill all the
bandits as you fight your way through the dungeon. When you reach Gulum-Ei be
VERY careful not to attack him as you kill the last bandit. When the coast is
clear, confront Gulum-Ei. After a little threatening, he will reveal that an
ex-Thieves’ Guild member named Karliah, responsible for the murder of the
former leader of the guild, is the one that purchased Goldenglow Estate.
Armed with new information (knowledge is power) pull the three switches on the
ground. This opens up a nearby door behind the scaffolding. Go up the stairs
and then jump onto the cage to reach this door. This will lead to a small
tunnel that comes out on another side of the dungeon, leading you outside, and
allowing you to fast-travel back to the Thieves’ Guild.
After you’ve returned to the guild, tell Mercer Frey that Karliah is back, and
she’s out for blood. His.
Mercer will decide that Karliah must be killed. He has discovered that she is
at Snow Veil Sanctum, an ancient dungeon near Windhelm. Travel there to find
Mercer has killed Karliah’s horse so she can’t escape. Then follow him to Snow
Veil Sanctum. He will unlock the door, and then follow him inside.
This place is a pain in the ass. The zombies in here are incredibly strong,
especially compared to the ones in the rest of the game. They are plentiful as
well. It’s a definite hack and slash fest, not to mention an uphill battle
(unless of course you have Healing Hands…in which case, this should be a
virtual cakewalk for you).
Fight your way through this dungeon. That’s honestly all there is to it.
Whenever you come across a gate, there will be a chain on the wall right next
to it that you can pull to open it. This is as complicated as it gets with
this dungeon. Fight all the zombies you come across, and basically just hope
for the best. By the way, in the room where you fight the Overlord zombie, you
can find a Shout on the back wall that allows you to disarm foes. Oh, and when
you come across one of those doors that require a “Claw” to open–don’t worry.
Mercer is somehow able to pick that lock as well. Looks like Jill Valentine is
no longer the “master of unlocking”.
At the end of the dungeon, Karliah will shoot you with an arrow. During the
ensuing conversation between Karliah and Mercer, you discover that Mercer was
the real murderer of Gallus. Meanwhile, you also overhear them refer to
themselves and Gallus as “The Nightingales”.
Knowing she can’t defeat Mercer in battle, Karliah drinks an invisibility
potion and runs off. Mercer approaches you, and now that you know the truth
about him, he can’t leave you alive. Mercer stabs you before leaving as well.
However, you wake up later, outside, in the snow. Karliah reveals that she had
a special type of poison on her arrow that slows down the heartrate so slow
that the person is paralyzed. This inadvertently saved your life because it
kept you from bleeding out from Mercer’s stab wound.
Karliah wants your help to prove that she is innocent and Mercer is guilty. To
do that, she wants you to head to the College of Winterhold, where an old
wizard friend of Gallus will be able to translate Gallus’s journal entries.
Gallus’s wizard friend Enthir lives in the most magical city in all of Skyrim–
Winterhold! Head to Winterhold and you can find Enthir chilling out at the
local inn. Speak with him about the current situation. He will be unable to
translate Gallus’s journal as it is written in Falmer. However, he will refer
you to his friend Calcelmo, a wizard that is currently doing work in Markath
in the dwarven ruins.
Travel to Markath. Go to Understone Keep once there until you reach Calcelmo.
Calcelmo won’t help you out, regardless of what you try to do. Bribes? Nada.
Persuasion? Nope. Intimidation? Not a chance. He ain’t afraid of no ghost. Your
only hope is to break into his museum and use the Rosetta stone of sorts
located in his lab to help Enthir translate the writings.
Located on a table near Calcelmo is the key that opens almost every door in the
museum. You don’t have to steal it; you can pick all the locks if you wish.
However, it will make the process a lot easier if you just swipe the key when
no one is watching. With the key in hand, go up the nearby steps. The guard
will stop you before you walk by, but just ignore him and go into sneak mode by
the museum door. You will be effectively out of sight, and you will be able to
sneak through the door without garnering the attention of anyone around you.
Once inside the museum, be wary of a couple of guards talking to each other.
When they have finished their conversation, hug the right side of the room and
quietly sneak by them. Then go room to room, sneaking by guards, until you
finally reach Calcelmo’s Stone in his lab. If you try to interact with the
stone, you will discover you need actual writing materials to transcribe what
is on it.
Turn around and search Calcelmo’s office. There should be a roll of paper on a
dresser, as well as a piece of charcoal on a table. Pick up both of these items
and then return to the stone. Interacting with the stone again will cause you
to transcribe the writings on the stone to the paper. This will allow Enthir to
translate Gallus’s journal.
Return to Enthir. Once you do, Karliah will show up. With the proof of Mercer’s
betrayal in the pages of Gallus’s journal successfully translated, she hopes
you can help turn the Thieves’ Guild in favor of her, and not Mercer.
Karliah will ask you to meet her at the Ragged Flagon. Head there, but don’t go
the usual Thieves’ Guild way. Remember, you are known as a traitor now, and
believed dead. Go through the Ratways like you did originally (this is the way
your compass will guide you anyhow) and then meet up with Karliah in the Ragged
Karliah will express worry that the people in the Thieves’ Guild are starting
to catch on to her identity. Follow her to the main area of the Thieves’ Guild,
and both of you will be stopped by various Thieves’ Guild members, including
Brynjolf. Karliah will show them the journal, which proves Mercer’s guilt.
They then decide to check the vault.
Follow everyone to the vault. After a couple of failed attempts at picking the
lock, Brynjolf will successfully managed to do so. Once inside, it will be
discovered that the vault has been stripped dry by Mercer, who has evidently
fled from Skyrim. Speak with Brynjolf after this revelation.
Brynjolf suggests that you break into Mercer’s house in Riften and search for
any clues as to what his next move will be. If you inquire more about your next
heist, Brynjolf will reveal that there is a mechanism you can shoot to lower a
rampway that will allow you to break into Mercer’s house on the second floor.
Splendid! You don’t have to take this way if you don’t want to, but regardless,
exit the Thieves’ Guild.
There are many options as to what you need to do next. You can just kill
everyone in Mercer’s house, including his guard Vold, or you can just sneak by
everybody. Regardless, use your compass to find Mercer’s house, which is
conveniently located right next to the Thieves’ Guild. You will have to pick
the locks of a couple of iron gates to reach his house. Once you reach his
home, and the areas the objective markers are pointing at, you can either break
in through the cellar, or you can break in by shooting the mechanism on the
balcony with an arrow to make the ramp fall down.
If you take the basement, which is honestly just as easy, then skip this
paragraph. Otherwise, shoot the mechanism on the balcony. Vold will come
running to investigate, so quickly hide. You can then sneak up on him and pick
the key to the house from his pocket, or you can kill him and take the key.
Murder makes no difference to the Thieves’ Guild this time around. Regardless
of the means, get the key from Vold, and then use it to unlock the second floor
Head to the ground floor. Your only worries in this place are a couple of
bandits, but they can be easily sneaked by or murdered. Once on the ground
floor, head to the only door that is not barred. Open it and then approach the
dresser in here. It is labeled as a “Suspicious Closet”. Open the closet and
then press A on the backpanel to reveal a secret passage. Following the secret
passageway will lead you right to Mercer’s hidden office.
Of course, Mercer has set up a hallway of traps and trickery that you have to
deal with before reaching his office. Just sprint through the first area to
avoid being burnt by the flames that spew from the ground. Then when you reach
the swinging pendulums, sprint by them when they are retracted. Then keep
sprinting until you reach the door to his office. Stand as close to the door as
possible when you open it, because arrows will fire out of the walls and try to
stick you. Head in fast.
Once inside, loot the place. There is a map on the table that will provide a
hint on what Mercer’s last big heist in Skyrim will be. Snag the map and then
return to Brynjolf. Show him the map, and he will discover that Mercer appears
to be after two very valuable gems known as the Eyes of the Falmer, which was
originally a project of Gallus before he was murdered. In the meantime, it
seems that Karliah wants to speak with the both of you as well…
Follow Brynjolf to Karliah, who will be standing on the platform in the middle
of the room. She asks the two of you to become Nightingales with her, with
more details to be revealed once you meet her at the standing stone just
outside of Riften. When she’s done talking, head there at once.
Upon arriving at the stone, you will find Brynjolf and Karliah to have already
arrived as well. With the three of you together, start following Karliah into
the nearby cave. Listen to her explain the Nightingales as you follow her
through the cave system. When she stops and tells you to get your special
Nightingale armor, run over to the designated pedastal and press A to get some
pretty snazzy armor. Equip it, and then wait for Brynjolf and Karliah to come
into the room so they can get the armor, too.
Begin following Karliah once again. Keep following her until you come into a
room with three platforms branching off from the main one. You will be asked to
stand on a glyph on the platform to the left, so do so. Wait for Brynjolf and
Karliah to get into position as well. Nocturnal will reveal itself and accept
you as a Nightingale. Once the strange little ceremony is over, speak with
She will explain that the duty of the Nightingales is to protect the Skeleton
Key–a key that can open any door. It seems that Mercer Frey has the key, and
that in his hands, the key can be extremely dangerous. It’s your new goal to
hunt down the key and recover it for the guild. When Karliah is done talking,
speak with Brynjolf about the location of the Eyes of the Falmer.
Mercer is most likely at the Dwarven ruins of Irkngthand, the apparent
location of the Eyes of the Falmer. Travel to this cave, and then speak with
Karliah inside once you arrive. You may have to battle some Dwarven robot
things. Oh, and get prepared for an extremely difficult dungeon.
The reason this dungeon is so damn hard isn’t because the enemies inside are
particularly difficult. The issues come with the sheer amount of enemies that
the game throws at you in the dungeon. Falmer will attack you in large numbers
of five or six, which can be extremely frustrating and difficult. It’s the same
story with the centipede-like creatures you will be fighting, and the smaller
Dwarven robots and spider robots. You’ll only find one or two large robots, but
they are pretty easy to defeat, especially since the Falmer will attack it as
You also have Brynjolf and Karliah to help you out in this place, but it’s very
tough. Don’t go unprepared, that’s for sure. The best option if you find
yourself constantly overrun by the bastards is to just run through the dungeon.
This makes it infinitely harder for them to gang up on you, and this dungeon is
pretty damn lengthy anyway, without anything worthwhile to loot anyways. Or
you can try to fight your way through, or you can come back here at a much
higher level. The choice is yours.
Eventually you will come across a room with a locked gate with two sets of cogs
on either side of the gate. There are two levers you need to pull to activate
the cogs and thus open the gate. As soon as you stepped into this room, you
should have seen the first lever. Just follow the stone balcony up top to find
the second lever. You have to pull them both within a certain time limit, so
use the sprint button to your advantage to get this little mini-puzzle out of
With the gate open, continue your uphill battle through the dungeon. When you
FINALLY reach Mercer, after running by many traps and fighting an absolutely
ridiculous amount of enemies, you will find him stealing the Eyes of the
Falmer. Time for a fight! Karliah and Brynjolf will help you in this battle,
and it turns out to be rather easy, honestly. Mercer can teleport around the
room, but he doesn’t do much damage and he is suspectible to taking high
amounts of melee damage because he has crappy armor.
When he’s dead, the dungeon will begin to collapse due to his actions before he
instigated the fight. Loot his dead body for the SUPER valuable Eyes of the
Falmer, as well as other precious jewelry he has on him, and of course, the
gold. Oh…and that Skeleton Key doohickey that you went through this majorly
hard dungeon to get in the first place. That’s pretty important.
With the Skeleton Key in hand, Brynjolf and Karliah will discover that you
can’t go back the way you came. It seems that all hope is lost as the room
begins to fill with water. Just let the room keep filling up with water. As you
near the top, you should see an opening in the wall that you can go through.
This will allow you to escape the room before you are crushed by falling debris
Upon exiting the dungeon, speak with Karliah again. It seems Brynjolf is
heading back to Riften to get the Thieves’ Guild organized now that Mercer is
dead, and Karliah simply can’t bear to see Nocturnal again after all the
failures she has caused. Because of this, Karliah asks you to take the Skeleton
Key back to its rightful place in the Twilight Sepulcher.
Travel to the Twilight Sepulcher. Once you arrive, you will be greeted by a
spirit of a Nightingale that now resides within its halls. Through the
conversation, this spirit will reveal itself to be the long-dead Gallus. After
he is caught up to speed on the whole situation at hand, it’s time to take the
Pilgrim’s Path. Inquire with Gallus more about the challenge ahead of you to
get a new optional objective.
This optional objective will lead you to a dead traveler nearby. Loot the
skeleton to get the man’s diary and read it.
skeleton to get the man’s diary and read it. Upon reading his journal, you will
get subtle clues about the challenges that you are about to face. Go through
the door behind Gallus to go on the Pilgrim’s Path.
NOTE: There is a very annoying glitch that can occur during this quest. If you
begin the Pilgrim’s Path and then leave for whatever reason, not only will you
have to find the Twilight Sepulcher on your own (the game will not guide you to
it), but you’ll find the door behind Gallus closed. To rectify this, if you go
to the left or right of the door, you can used the Whirlwind Sprint to glitch
over the open space, leading behind the door. I have tested this solution out
for myself, and I can confirm that it works.
Interrupting NOTES aside, the first rooms of the Pilgrim’s Path will contain
purple ghosts that will try to kill you. These are a few of the most formidable
ghosts in the game, so don’t expect a cake walk. After they have all been
reduced to a pile of nothingness or ran past, go through the next door to start
the second trial.
This room is tricky. Notice that there is heavy use of shadows and light here.
You have to stick to the shadows in this room. Stepping into the light will
cause you to catch on fire, resulting in your death. Just never move out of the
shadows and you will be able to make it to the end of the room and be
Next, you will find a statue of Nocturnal with a dead guy lying in front of it.
To the left and right of the statue are pull-chains. Pull them both and a door
will open behind the statue, granting you further passage through the dungeon.
Keep going until you find a large hole in the ground, and then drop down the
Once you land, loot the skeleton and read his journal. You’ll discover that he
was trapped down here and died. Just wait a few moments, and then the Skeleton
Key will activate, and the ground below you will disappear. After you land,
place the Skeleton Key in its proper position in the middle of this room, and
then Nocturnal will appear. Karliah will enter the room as well.
Listen to Nocturnal’s speech, and then talk to Karliah after she’s done jabbin’
her jaw. Karliah will explain you can choose from three different perks by
stepping on one of the three different circles. You can always come back
(assuming a day has gone by) and pick another one if you aren’t satisfied with
the one you chose. Pick one and then leave.
You can now return to the Thieves’ Guild and do quests for Vex and Delvin.
These quests will help restore the “Thieves’ Guild” to its former glory!
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4. The Dark Brotherhood
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You can come across this quest in a variety of ways. I learned of the young boy
Aventus Aretino from listening to gossip at the inn in Riverwood, personally.
Regardless of how you discover this quest, which begins as a Misc. Quest
(unless you go to the boy’s home in Windhelm yourself without learning of the
quest beforehand), head to Windhelm.
Go to the Aretino residence in Windhelm. You’ll find that the door is locked.
You can break into the building without getting into any trouble with the law,
so pick the lock. Head inside, and you will find the young boy named Aventus
Aretino performing a dark ritual with bones and what-not. Spooky. Horror
Spooky, even. Speak with the boy. He’ll tell you of Greold the Kind, an evil
woman that resides over the orphans at Honorhall Orphanage in Riften like a
Journey to Riften and go to the orphanage during the day. When you go inside,
you will see Greold giving a speech to the children. When she’s done talking,
the children will wander around aimlessly, and Greold herself will start
stirring a pot near the fire, preparing food. Wait until the other adult
leaves the room, then kill Greold from behind. Swiftly exit the orphanage and
fast-travel back to Windhelm.
In Windhelm, return to Aventus. As soon as you enter his house, he will stop
you and ask if you completed the deed. Confirm the kill, and he will give you
a family heirloom that you can sell. Nifty. You don’t even have to be a part of
the Dark Brotherhood to complete this quest.
After completing “Innocence Lost”, you will receive a note from a courier.
Couriers deliver mail randomly while you are in towns, so just walk around in
a town or wait for one to show up. Examine the note. It will have a large black
handprint, with the words “WE KNOW” scribbled on the bottom of it.
The next time you sleep in a bed, you will wake up in an abandoned shack. A
woman named Astrid will be sitting on a nearby shelf. She will tell you that
you owe a debt to the Dark Brotherhood for stealing one of their kills, and
they require you to murder one of the three people that she has bound and
gagged in the room.
It doesn’t matter who you kill. Hell, you can kill all three of the captives
if you’d like! But after at least one has been killed, talk to Astrid again.
She will tell you where to find the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, and she will
also give you the password. Oh, and the key to the shack, so you can live in
an abandoned shack where you just murdered someone else. Lovely.
The Sanctuary is located not too far from the city called Falkreath. Head to
Falkreath, and then the objective marker will point you to a small cliffside
a little West of Falkreath. You will find the Black Door that guards the
Sanctuary. Interact with it, and when prompted to answer its question, respond
with “Silence, brother.” The door will then open and allow you inside.
Head inside the Sanctuary. Astrid will be leaning against the wall at the top
of the stairs, without her mask on. Speak with Astrid again and you will be
officially inducted into the Dark Brotherhood. Huzzah!
This quest is extraordinarily simple. Simply head to the Dark Brotherhood
Sanctuary. Then go speak with Nazir, a Redguard that your compass and objective
marker will point you right to. He will then offer you some of the less
important contracts to complete while the higher level members of the
Brotherhood deal with the big stuff. Accept the contracts and then quest is
Narfi is a begger that lives in Ivarstead. Head to Ivarstead and then wait for
it to be night. Doing so will see Narfi standing by himself across the river,
isolated from others. Kill him in any manner that you see fit and loot his body
for gold and lockpicks.
Return to Nazir at the Sanctuary to report your success and receive your
Ennodius is chilling out (pun definitely intended) in the wilderness near
Agna’s Mill. If you go at nighttime or in the early morning, he will be fast
asleep in his tent. This is the ideal time to kill him, as all you have to do
is chop away while he’s asleep, and the poor bloke won’t even have time to
Return to Nazir at the Sanctuary to report your success and receive your
Beitild is a miner, and she works her employees like horses. Head to her
location, and then consider the many options you have in handling this
contract. You can outright kill her in front of everybody and then face the
legal consequences, or you can break into her house at night and kill her then.
If you’d like to take the stealthier approach, there are a couple of ways you
can accomplish this. Obviously, you could wait until it’s night, then under
the cover of darkness, use a lockpick to break into her house. You can then
slaughter here there in private. You could also pickpocket her and steal her
house key to make things easier.
Return to Nazir at the Sanctuary to report your success and receive your
After completing all the contract kills, you will find Astrid and a bunch of
Brotherhood members talking to the jester, Cicero. When they’re done speaking,
grab Astrid’s ear for a moment. She will give you your next assignment. You
need to go speak to Muiri in Markarth, as she is trying contact the Dark
Brotherhood and requires assassin assistance.
Head to Markarth and then go speak to Muiri. She will fill you in on the
situation. It seems her ex-lover Alain Dufont was a bit more than he made out
to be. Muiri discovered that he was actually the leader of a group of bandits,
and she wants him dead for his treachery. Meanwhile, she also wants a woman
in Windhelm dead if you wish to get a little more payment. This is an optional
objective, of course.
The Windhelm woman is a bit of a pain to kill. No matter what time of day I
was in Windhelm, I could never get her alone. I ended up smashing her face in
in the middle of the street, and I fled from the guards to safety. All you get
for completing this extra objective is a little more gold and a ring, so if
you lack the gold to pay a fine or if you don’t think you will be able to
escape from the guards safely, then you should consider skipping this optional
Your primary target, Alain, is at his headquarters near Windhelm in the
mountains, along with his gang of bandits. Kill the bandits on the outside and
then head inside. Kill the initial bandit that confronts you, then run through
the flames that are blocking the doorway. This won’t kill you, I promise. In
the next room, there will be more bandits, as well as your target.
If you move fast enough, you can light the oil slick next to Alain on fire,
which kills him instantly. It may also take out the other bandits in the room
if you are lucky. At any rate, with Alain dead, return to Muiri to receive
your payment. Then return to Astrid at the Sanctuary to confirm the completion
of the contract.
Astrid wants you to spy on Cicero while he attempts to talk to the Night
Mother. She devises a plan for you to be in the room and listen in on Cicero,
whom she believes to be conspiring against the Dark Brotherhood with multiple
accomplices. Head to the Night Mother’s room, pick the lock on her coffin, and
then step inside. The coffin lid will slam shut, leaving you nose-to-nose with
the mummified corpse of the Night Mother.
Cicero will enter the room and begin his rambling. He becomes desperate for the
emergence of the Listener. The Night Mother will then speak to you, revealing
you to be “the one”–the Listener. You will exit the coffin, and then Cicero
will freak out, accusing you of “defiling” the Night Mother. Explain to him the
situation. The high-strung Astrid will then burst into the room to your aid,
but she is shocked when Cicero tells her that you’re the Night Mother.
Speaking with Astrid reveals a bit of jealousy towards your position. She asks
you to ignore the Night Mother’s instructions for now and instead go speak with
Nazir for more contract kills. Do this.
This contract is very easy. Travel to Lurbuk’s location. He will be in the town
of Morthal at the inn most the time. Kill him, then report back to Nazir.
Hern is chilling out at a mill with a woman. You can usually find Hern, a
vampire, in his home. Fight him, and he will flee outside. His woman will try
to save him, but she can easily be killed or scared off with a few swings of
your weapon. Chase Hern down and kill him. Then report back to Nazir to confirm
With the previous two contracts completed, speak with Astrid. She will give you
the go-ahead to go speak to Amaund Motierre, the man the Night Mother asked you
to go see initially. Head to his location, which is a dungeon. As soon as you
enter the dungeon, immediately head for his objective marker using your
compass. You won’t have to fight anything if you do this.
Amaund will be at first surprised that the ritual to summon the Dark
Brotherhood worked, but then he will give you the details. He wants the Dark
Brotherhood to assassinate multiple targets, all culminating in the
assassination of the emperor of Tamriel. His subordinate gives you an a
mysterious amulet to “cover expenses” as well as a letter with details on when
each kill needs to take place.
Return to the Sanctuary and catch Astrid up to speed. She will ask you to take
the amulet to Delvin Mallory of the Thieves’ Guild to have him check it over.
Visit Delvin and show him the amulet. He will buy it off you, and he also
reveals that it is an amulet that belongs to members of the Elder Council.
Return to Astrid and let her know the situation.
Astrid will reveal that your first target is the cousin of the Emperor named
Vittoria Vici. She is getting married in Solitude, to a Stormcloak, while she
is an Imperial. She needs to be assassinated, in public, so that everyone just
figures it is an act of war. Astrid mentions that there is something extra in
it for you if you kill her as she is addressing her guests.
Travel to Solitude and crash the wedding. You can kill Vici right off the bat,
but I prefer to wait around and pass the time to get the bonus. Mingle with the
other guests. They will all start taking their seats, then Vici and her husband
will go to the top of the tower. Follow them and then stand behind Vici as she
gives her speech. Be wary, though, as I encountered a problem where it didn’t
give me the extra reward for killing Vici while she was addressing the public,
so perhaps you should make an extra save at this point.
At any rate, kill Vici. I found it extremely fun to blast her off the balcony
using the Unrelenting Force Shout at full power, but the choice is truly yours.
Once she’s dead, everyone will be on you like white on rice, so get out of
there. Escape Solitude and flee into the wilderness until you lose the guards.
Once the coast is clear, fast-travel back to the Sanctuary.
Speak with Astrid and report your victory. The Emperor’s cousin Vittoria Vici
is dead…on her wedding day.
Astrid will asks you to talk to Gabriella, the Brotherhood member that has set
up your next kill. Go speak with her in the Sanctuary, and she will drop the
details on your next mission in the ultimat quest of killing the Emperor. She
will explain that Gaius Maro has been sent to Skyrim to constantly check in on
the security of each city in the region to ensure that it is safe for the
Emperor to visit. Your job is to murder Gaius Maro and then plant false
evidence on his body to insinuate a plot to assassinate the Emperor.
The hopes of the Brotherhood is that this will send the Emperor’s security
protocol into chaos, and that the Emperor will actually feel safer in Skyrim
since this plot to murder him has been foiled. Your optional objective is to
obtain Gaius’s work schedule and then murder him in one of the towns he is
You can find both his travel schedule and Gaius at Dragon Bridge initially.
Once you steal his schedule, he will begin making the rounds. However, you can
choose to kill him right there at Dragon Bridge, which you should do if you
don’t care about the bonus reward (a token for a reading from a psychic) or if
you are too weak to deal with the potential attack from city guards.
Assuming you don’t choose to kill Gaius right off the bat (and if you did, just
scroll down a little bit), check out his travel schedule. It will have the
places he will be scribbled on it as well as what he’s doing in each town.
Before I talk about this bit more, here is how the days of the week work in the
Elder Scrolls games:
Morndas = Monday
Tirdas = Tuesday
Middas = Wednesday
Turas = Thursday
Fredas = Friday
Loredas = Saturday
Sundas = Sunday
To see what day it is, simply press start. On the bottom right-hand corner of
the screen will be the time of day, the year, and what day it is.
On Monda-Thursday, Gaius will be in one of the cities. During the day, he will
be walking around the city. During the night, he will either be at an Inn or
the barracks of the local castle, sleeping in the same room with the guards.
This makes him extraordinarily annoying to kill. Pick a day and pick a town.
No matter what, you’re going to get caught by the guards. Gaius has an absurd
amount of health, so unless you’re extremely high level, you’re going to
definitely run into issues with this guy.
Even sneak attacks deal minimal damage to him. Press A to loot his body, and
store the item called the Incriminating Letter (found under the “Books” tab
on his person to frame him. But once he’s dead, flee from the guards, or of
course, you can sheathe your weapons and try to reason with them. My fine for
murdering Gaius was only 40 gold.
After he has been dealt with, fast-travel back to the Sanctuary. Once you step
inside, Gabriella will confront you before you can even seek her out. There
seems to be trouble in the Sanctuary…
Cicero acted like a lunatic while you were questing and stabbed the Argonian
Dark Brotherhood member. Astrid’s husband Arbnjorn went chasing after the
crazy jester. She asks you to search Cicero’s room for evidence as to where he
may have fled to.
Upon searching Cicero’s room, you will find his journal on the end-table next
to his bed. Read it to discover that Cicero has went to an old Dark Brotherhood
Sanctuary in Dawnstar. Give Astrid the journal and she will read it as well.
She suggests you take the Dark Brotherhood’s horse, Shadowmere.
Head outside. You’ll find black bubbles popping out of the pond. Shadowmere
will materialize. There will probably be a few dead animals lying around during
this gruesome ceremony. You can mount Shadowmere and make him your horse if
you’d like, and if you have never been to Dawnstar before, you might as well
use him to reach the place. Otherwise, you can just fast-travel and head to the
Sanctuary that way.
Regardless of your means of travel, you will find Arnbjorn lying outside of the
Sanctuary, bleeding profusely. He says that during his fight with Cicero, he
managed to severely injure the clown. However, Cicero fled through the
Sanctuary and Arbnjorn does not know the password. You do, however, from
reading Cicero’s journal.
Approach the door. The password is “Innocence”, which will be the top dialogue
choice. Once inside the Sanctuary, you will be attacked by various ghosts of
long-dead Dark Brotherhood members. Kill them and fight your way through the
Sanctuary. You will come across a rope bridge, and you will need to sprint
across it to avoid being hit by the spears that come out of the walls. After
crossing this bridge, head down the stairs, but then be VERY cautious. The next
room will have mutiple ghosts ready to attack as well as oil slicks on the
ground. Cicero has set another trap for you, which involves oil, explosions,
and lots of fire.
If you set the oil ablaze first, the ghosts will suffer the attack and will
probably be defeated. Then keep making your way through the Sanctuary. When
you come across closed gates, be sure to pull the chains on the walls next to
the doors to open the gates. Continue until you find Cicero, lying on the
ground in agony. Cicero has a way with words though, and his talking will start
to get you to consider your choices.
You can either murder Cicero as told to do by the Dark Brotherhood, or you can
let him leave and simply leave the Dawnstar Sanctuary. No matter what you do,
there is no discernable difference to deal with at first, so just murder the
jester or leave him be. Regardless of your choice, head back to the Sanctuary
near Falkreath. Speak with Astrid and either tell her the truth about you
having killed Cicero or lie to her about killing him.
Astrid will then instruct you to speak with Festus Krex about the next step in
your assignment. Festrus Krex wants you to murder the Gourmet, the guy that is
responsible for preparing the Emperor’s meals while he is in Skyrim. First,
though, you need to figure out who the person simply known as the “Gourmet” is,
and you will probably have to shed some blood to obtain this information.
First you need to visit Anton Virane in Markarth. He’s also a chef. Speak with
him once you arrive and then threaten him to obtain the information that you
need. Apparently the Gourmet is an Orc called Balagog gro-Nolob and he is
currently working at an Inn secluded in the wilderness. Even though he gave you
the information you wanted, Anton still needs to die.
Upon threatening Anton, he will retreat to a back area and begin to sweep. If
you are quiet enough, you can murder him back here without attracting any
attention. Otherwise, just escape from the guards as best you can (or surrender
to them) and then travel to Balagog’s location. Wait until it’s night time, and
then head inside the inn.
Walk down the stairs. Be sure to be in sneak mode as you reach the bottom of
the stairs and move quietly. Balagog is sleeping down here by himself. Crawl
over to his bedside and then kill him. Loot his body for the Writ of Passage.
Then you can complete an optional objective of hiding his body. I recommend
doing it for kicks. To grab things and move them around in the world of Skyrim,
all you need to do is hold the A button, and then move your analog sticks
Drag Balagog’s body behind some barrels in the basement. When he is
sufficiently hidden, it will say you completed the optional objective. After
this is done, head back upstairs, leave the inn, and then report back to the
Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. Tell Festus Krex of your success. It’s almost time
to pull off the ultimate murder.
Speak with Astrid to get the ball rolling for your grand assassination of the
Emperor. With the real Gourment dead and with you having the Writ of Passage,
the goal is to head to Solitude, pose as the Gourmet, and then poison the
Emperor’s meal. Astrid will give you the proper poison. After the Emperor dies,
you have to escape through the nearby tower that is connected to the castle in
Solitude, as Astrid has arranged for the guards to away from that bridge.
Go to Solitude and then speak with Commander Maro. He will be guarding the door
into the castle. Hand him the Writ of Passage and he will let you inside. Your
compass will lead you to the kitchen, where you will find the Master Chef
Gianna busily preparing the Emperor’s meal. Speak with her, but she won’t let
you start cooking until you are wearing a Chef’s hat.
There are hats on the nearby shelf that you can wear and then spaek with
Gianna again. If you already have a hat in your possession, like from looting
Anton in the previous quest, then Gianna won’t stop and make you retrieve one.
She will then ask you what to add to the stew to make the Gourmet’s specialty
meal. Keep telling her different ingredients until she decides the stew is
done. Then casually tell her to add in the poison that Astrid give you,
disguised as a herb for flavor.
With the meal prepared, follow Gianna through the castle corridors. When you
arrive in the room with the Emperor, he will eat the stew, and then drop dead
as suspected. Gianna will be considered guilty as well, and as the guards drop
in on her, leave the area through the door right across from the table. Sprint
down the bridge, but then you will be stoppped by Commander Maro and his
It seems that you were sold out by the Dark Brotherhood! Commander Maro was
approached by the Dark Brotherhood about a proposition. The man that you killed
with the poison was actually a double for the Emperor, and Commander Maro
despised him, and wanted him dead. Meanwhile, since you are the one that
murdered his son Gaius Maro, he wants you to dead. The Dark Brotherhood traded
you in exchange for the empire staying off their back! However, Commander Maro
decides that all Dark Brotherhood members are going to die, and he’s sent his
guards to the Sanctuary right now, where they are busy slaughtering all of
Sprint by the guards and flee from the area. You need to make it back to the
Sanctuary. Once you’ve gotten a certain distance away, you can fast-travel, but
not to the sanctuary for some reason. You can, however, fast-travel to a
location close to the Sanctuary and then walk to the Sanctuary from there to
shorten your travel time.
Regardless, as you near the Sanctuary and the chaos that is going on, this leg
of the Dark Brotherhood questline will conclude.
Murder any of Maro’s agents that are impeding your path into the Sanctuary.
Then enter the Sanctuary itself. You will find that it is on fire and many of
your Dark Brotherhood family members are dead. You will find Arnbjorn fighting
off agents in his werewolf form, but he will be soon slain. Work your way
through the Sanctuary until you discover even more dead, and Nazir fighting
off Artucus, the man leading this assault for Commander Maro.
Help Nazir kill Artucus. Then speak with Nazir about what’s going on. The two
of you will conclude that if you don’t escape the Sanctuary, then you will both
be killed. As you run through the Sanctuary with him, the Night Mother will
call out to you, asking you to embrace her. Nazir will get distracted battling
agents as you near the Night Mother’s sarcophagus. Open it, then approach her.
The lid will close and the Night Mother will tell you to sleep. The screen will
go completely black for a few moments before the Night Mother begins speaking
yet again. She will tell you to go speak to Astrid, who is apparently still in
the Sanctuary. Open exiting the coffin, you will be greeted to a Sanctuary that
is no longer on fire, and you will also be greeted by the two surviving family
members: Nazir and the little creepy vampire girl.
After you tell Nazir that Astrid is still in the Sanctuary, he and the vampire
will follow you to her location. You’ll find Astrid lying on the ground, dying
from horrid burns. She will admit to selling you out to the Maro. She says that
she just wanted things to be how they used to be before Cicero came to the
Sanctuary and before you came to the Sanctuary and became Listener. However,
she is the reason that all of the Dark Brotherhood family members are now dead.
Astrid asks you to kill her. She also asks you to do this using the Blade of
Woe, a special blood-thirsty sword that you should recognize from Oblivion if
you ever played through the Dark Brotherhood on that game. Pick up the sword
if you wish (it’s an optional objective) as it is lying next to Astrid’s hand.
Then kill her.
With Astrid dead, return to the Night Mother. The Night Mother is optimistic
about the whole situation. She says that as long as you are alive, the Dark
Brotherhood is alive, and that the Dark Brotherhood always fulfills their
contracts. That means the Emperor–the real one–must die.
The Night Mother will tell you to go speak with Amaund Motierre, the man that
filed for the contract against the Emperor’s life, and also to tell Nazir of
your intentions. Speak with Nazir, and he will say he will take himself, the
creepy vampire girl, and the Night Mother to Dawnstar, to the former Dark
Brotherhood Sanctuary located there.
With that loose end tied up, go speak to Amaund at the Bannered Mare in
Whiterun. He will be in a room by himself. Tell him that you still plan on
killing the Emperor, and you need to know the location of the REAL Emperor.
Amaund reveals that the Emperor is residing in a boat called the Katariah in
the sea near Solitude. While the boat is not docked, it is anchored, and now is
your chance to kill the Emperor before he leaves for Cyrodiil!
Head to Solitude, and then jump out into the sea. Swim to the Katariah,
specifically the anchor chain. Press A to climb the chain and inside the boat.
What ensues is probably the most entertaining thing you will do in the Dark
Brotherhood. Be silent and sneaky as you make your way through the boat. Kill
off EVERYONE that you see. The Blade of Woe will kill them with a single swipe,
by the way.
This part of the game is a lot of fun. Since someone is pounding on an anvil
somewhere else in the boat, the other sailors will not hear you murdering
their friends. This allows you to systematically pick off every single person
on the boat one-by-one like in a horror movie. Just sneak along and move
through the boat, killing each person that you come across in any manner that
you so wish.
Eventually, you’re going to reach a door that is an Expert level lock. If you
attract enough attention, the Lieutenant will come barging through the door and
try to kill you. Otherwise, you can simply pick the lock and kill him silently
like you’ve been killing everybody else on the ship. Loot the Lieutenant’s
body regardless so you can get the Master Key to the ship.
With the Master Key in hand, head to the Emperor’s room. Open the door. The
Emperor will be surprisingly calm about the whole situation. He has already
accepted his fate it seems. He will ask you one last favor, though. The Emperor
asks you to kill the man that made the contract against him, one Amaund
Montierre. This will be logged as an optional objective. When the Emperor is
done talking, he will walk over to the window and look out at the sea. That is
your cue to walk over and stab him in the back.
With the Emperor dead, use the Master Key on the nearby door to exit the cabins
of the ship. Jump off the side of the boat into the water (it won’t let you
fast-travel from this location due to “enemies” even when no one is around) and
swim to the shore. Head back to Whiterun and once again confront Amaund
Montierre at the Bannered Mare.
Amaund will be delighted at the news that the Emperor is dead. He will then
reveal that your payment is in an urn at the dungeon where you first spoke with
Amaund. You can then kill Amaund if you’d like, but it will probably attract
the attention of the people in the inn, meaning you’ll have to make a run for
it. However, Amaund has a lot of very valuable jewelry on him, so it may just
be worth it to ice the bastard.
Regardless of your decision, head back to where you met Armaund. Make your way
to the room where you first met him, and then loot the urn in here for your
payment. The payment is an astonishing 20,000 gold. With the payment in tow,
report back to the Dawnstar Sanctuary and speak with Nazir. Tell him about the
amount of money (or lie), and the quest will be complete.
This quest is very, very easy. Nazir will recommend that you go speak with
Delvin Mallory of the Thieves’ Guild to look into renovating the Dawnstar
Sanctuary. Go speak with Delvin, and depending on how much money Nazir believed
you earned from your assassination of the Emperor, that’s how much stuff will
be available to ask Delvin to renovate. Pay for whatever you like and get the
Dawnstar Sanctuary fixed up.
After you’ve purchased all the available upgrades to the Sanctuary, this quest
will be complete.
You have completed The Dark Brotherhood. However, there will always be people
in Skyrim that are willing to pay for the murder of someone else. Listen to the
Mother at the Dawnstar Sanctuary to receive contracts, and then go fulfill
these contracts for gold. These quests go on forever, hence the name in the