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Online:A Ghost from the Past

< Elder Scrolls Online: Quests: Dark Brotherhood
Accompany Green-Venom-Tongue on a journey to the past.
Zone: Gold Coast
Faction: Dark Brotherhood
Quest Giver: Green-Venom-Tongue in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary;
Location(s): Anvil, Blackwood Borderlands, Kvatch
Prerequisite Quest: Dark Revelations
Next Quest: The Wrath of Sithis
Reward: Unidentified Sithis' Touch Waist Armor
1 Skill Point
Average Leveled Gold
10 Dark Brotherhood RepReputation
XP Gain: Standard Experience
What happened at the Xith-Izkul sanctuary?
Green-Venom-Tongue learned a few things from the Black Dragon's journal that seem to point to his former Sanctuary. He wants to go back there and try to confirm the Black Dragon's claims.

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.
  2. Meet Green-Venom-Tongue outside Anvil.
  3. Enter the Purified Sanctuary and talk to Green-Venom-Tongue.
  4. Search the Sanctuary for hidden truths.
  5. Investigate the Shrine of Sithis.
  6. Meet Green-Venom-Tongue by the Cathedral of Akatosh in Kvatch.
  7. Learn Lyra's fate.
  8. Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue.
  9. Talk to Astara in the Sanctuary.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

You can speak to Grazda or Green-Venom-Tongue to start the quest. The former says:

"Oh, Assassin, am I glad to see you! He's got one of those ideas in his head again and it has me worried sick about him."
Who, Grazda? Tell me what's got you so upset.
"It's Green-Venom-Tongue. Ever since he started digging into that journal you brought back, he's had that funny look in his eyes. You know the one. The one that means he's planning to do something foolhardy—and dangerous."
He was supposed to tell Astara and the Speaker what he discovered.
"Well, so far, he's kept whatever he's found completely to himself. I know that this is his business, but I can't help worrying about him.
Could you talk to him? He may not show it, but he respects you. Maybe he'll even let you help him with this."
I'll go to the Sanctuary and talk to Green-Venom-Tongue.

Go to the Sanctuary and talk to Green-Venom-Tongue:

"That journal you recovered. The contents are ... disturbingly intriguing. You reported that my old associate, Lyra Viria, is the Black Dragon. The journal, however, claims the Black Dragon killed Lyra.
I need to determine the truth of this matter."
Tell me about Lyra Viria.
"Lyra was the most skilled among us. I was told she had died in the purification. That she fell alongside our brothers and sisters.
The journal claims Lyra died at the hands of the Black Dragon, yet you said she also used that name. Curious ...."
What do you want to do?
"I want to return this journal and pretend I never read it, but I can't resist a mystery. If the Black Dragon killed Lyra and destroyed my former Sanctuary, I need to know the truth. It is time to break my vow and go back there. Will you come with me?"
I'll accompany you to your former Sanctuary.
Green-Venom-Tongue and Shazara-Ta are waiting to travel to the Blackwood Borderlands with you

Meet Green-Venom-Tongue at Anvil's northern gate. You'll find him waiting by a carriage with Shazara-Ta. Interact with the carriage to travel to the Blackwood Borderlands. Approach him and follow him to a temple. As you travel, he'll chat:

Green-Venom-Tongue: "I haven't walked these marshes in a long, long time. Strange, but it doesn't feel like coming home."
Green-Venom-Tongue: "I never was able to learn much about the purification. Even the Listener refused to talk about it."
Green-Venom-Tongue: "She did say that the Black Hand can call for purification in extreme circumstances. I just wish I knew what made the purge necessary."
Green-Venom-Tongue: "This time, though, I think we'll learn something I never knew. At least, I hope we will."

Upon arriving at the entrance to the Ruins of Xith-Izkul, he'll caution you:

Green-Venom-Tongue: "Keep your eyes open. The Sanctuary may be abandoned, but such places never stay quiet for long. Let us go inside."

Follow him inside. He'll approach the Black Door to the Sanctuary:

"What is the gift of death?"
"Solace, my brother."
Green-Venom-Tongue: "Ah, the Black Door. Still intact after all these years. No worries. I remember the proper reply."
The Black Door: "What is the gift of death?"
Green-Venom-Tongue: "Solace, my brother."
The Black Door: "Welcome home."

Follow him through the Black Door and into the Xith-Izkul Sanctuary, and speak to him:

"Have you ever seen as the Hist sees? Have you ever looked beyond the barrier of time? We're going to see with more than our eyes to find the truth in this place."
How do we do that?
"Another excellent question! Keep them coming, Assassin!
I believe in preparing for every contingency. So I brought along this resin. When burned, its fumes reveal things that are hidden from our feeble eyes."
What do you need me to do?
"Can't you sense it? We're not alone in here. I'll need you to deal with anything that tries to stop us while I keep the flame burning."
Wasn't this Sanctuary abandoned?
"Didn't I explain that already? Let me check my notes. Hmm. Interesting.
The Sanctuary was abandoned by the living, yes, but it still holds many dark secrets. Secrets even the resin may not reveal. We should be on our guard."
Then let's do this.
"Then let me light the flame. Breathe deep and let the resin open your eyes. It might be uncomfortable, but I urge you not to resist. The effects should be temporary, in all likelihood.
Let the fumes lead us to the answers we seek."

You need to locate and interact with four evidence sites, in order to see the events that occurred in those places. While traveling through the Sanctuary, you will be attacked by the ghosts of Dark Brotherhood members, and by the occasional Dark Guardian.

Did the Dread Father order the purification of the sanctuary?

As you approach the northernmost evidence site, Green will remark, "When the Black Hand sealed the Sanctuary, I had no idea they left the bodies where they fell. Let's see what the resin reveals." Interact the evidence — a skeleton — to see the circumstances of its death. You will see Hallan and Lyra standing in front of each other, the latter armed with two swords.

Hallan: "Lyra? Is something wrong, Sister?"
Lyra Viria: "I'm sorry it's come to this, Brother."
Hallan: "What are you doing? No, Lyra. Stop!"

With a single clean swipe, Lyra cuts Hallan's throat. He falls, and his body comes to rest where the skeleton now lies.

Green-Venom-Tongue: "Lyra …?"

As you approach the northeastern evidence site, Green will remark, "More remains? Another dead associate, another piece of this sorry puzzle." Interact with the evidence — again, a skeleton. Lyra and Vrayden will fade into view.

Lyra Viria: "'Traitor?' I'm not the one who betrayed my Brothers and Sisters!"
Vrayden: "The Black Hand would never sanction this! I don't believe it!"
Lyra Viria: "You don't need to believe it. You simply need to die!"

Lyra strikes once with her left-hand blade, slashing Vrayden and spinning him around; with her right-hand blade, she impales him upward through the back and throat. Vrayden's body comes to rest where the skeleton now lies.

Green-Venom-Tongue: "Clarity blooms through the fog of the Hist. But to be charged with such a terrible task …."

Proceed south, through the Sanctuary's main hall, to get to the southwestern evidence site — apparently an armory or training room, stocked with several weapons. As you step into the room, Green will remark, "Walking these halls reminds me of the story they used to tell to scare the initiates. The tale of the Wrath of Sithis." Inspect the skeleton; Lyra and Annalise will fade into view.

Annalise: "Wait, Lyra, you know me. I'd never betray the Brotherhood!"
Lyra Viria: "I do know you, Annalise, but my orders are clear."
Annalise: "Please! There has to be another way!"
Lyra Viria: "If only that were true."

Annalise backs away and turns to run. Lyra draws the Blade of Woe and hurls it into the back of Annalise's skull, just as any assassin would. Annalise's body lands facedown, coming to rest where the skeleton now lies. Lyra whispers a final farewell: "Goodbye, Sister."

Green-Venom-Tongue: "In the old stories, the Wrath of Sithis appeared to carry away the souls of traitors. If that's true, I wonder why purification was even necessary?"

Finally, proceed southwest. The last room has a southern entrance blocked by rubble, but the rubble can easily be jumped over. You may also walk into the room from the east, passing through a room clearly intended to hold prisoners — and risking combat with a Dark Guardian on the way. Either way, as you and Green-Venom-Tongue enter the room, he will remark, "Another set of remains. I hope this is the last." Inspect the skeleton, and Lyra and Duras will fade into view.

Duras: "What? Are those tears? Executioners aren't supposed to cry, Lyra.
Duras: "Come. Plunge your blade into my heart. If Sithis calls for me, I will gladly leap into the Void. When we are called, we must obey!"
Lyra Viria: "You really believe that? Even now, you think this … insanity has some sort of meaning?"
Duras: "Purpose and meaning are illusions for the masses. But we know the truth, Lyra. Now, strike and send me home!"

Lyra lunges forward, impaling Duras upon both blades and lifting the body into the air. Duras struggles, visibly in pain, before quickly falling limp. Lyra lowers the body, and uses her boot to dislodge her blades from the corpse.

Green-Venom-Tongue: "She completed the purification of her own Sanctuary. I can't even imagine what that must have done to her."

Speak to Green-Venom-Tongue:

"How terrible. Lyra was ordered to purify her own Sanctuary. To kill her own Brothers and Sisters. I never even imagined ...."
What do you think all this means?
"It means I was kept in the dark about the purification. I understand why they thought that was necessary, but it doesn't change the fact that I had to learn the truth on my own. Lyra didn't die in the purge—she was the Black Hand's sword."
But what happened after that? And what's the connection between Lyra and the Black Dragon?
"That still eludes me. Obviously, the Black Dragon wants us to believe that she and Lyra are one and the same. But I can't imagine Lyra turning her back on the Night Mother, on Sithis.
There is a piece missing from this puzzle, I just know it."
So how do we find this missing piece of the puzzle?
"After Lyra completed the purification, she would have gone to the shrine of Sithis to make an offering and pray over her success. It was her usual ritual.
Let's visit the shrine and see if any images remain of that moment in time."

Head to the Sanctuary's main hall, and approach the statue. As you do, Lyra will fade into view, kneeling directly in front of the massive statue of Sithis:

Green-Venom-Tongue: "Look! I was right. There is another memory to see."

Approach Lyra to continue the scene.

Lyra Viria: "Was this truly your will? Did Mother really command this? I did as I was told, but it still feels … wrong."

Lyra will rise to her feet, continuing her questions, as Speaker Arawen fades in behind her and waits for the perfect moment to berate her.

Near a breakdown after purification, Lyra receives another task
Lyra Viria: "Please, Dread Father. Talk to me! Were all these deaths truly what you wanted?"
Speaker Arawen: "Allow me to assure you, child. You have done exactly as you were commanded."
Lyra Viria: "Speaker? I didn't know you were here."
Speaker Arawen: "Another sacrament has been performed. You must go to the city of Kvatch and eliminate Jonas, the Primate of Akatosh."
Lyra Viria: "But Speaker … my family …. I need time to …."
Speaker Arawen: "Your family? Such personal attachments are beneath you. Remember who you really are. Ruthless. Ambitious. You are my Silencer. My weapon!"
Lyra Viria: "Yes, Speaker. I remember. I'll go to Kvatch immediately."

The echoes of the two women fade out. Speak to Green-Venom-Tongue:

"Well, wasn't that revealing! I might have to find other uses for these wonderful fumes!
It appears that not only did Lyra complete the purification of our old Sanctuary as she was commanded, but she also took on another contract when she was done."
I saw. But who's Primate Jonas?
"Before his grandness Artorius ascended to the top of the religious hierarchy, Primate Jonas was the tip of the tower as far as Akatosh's followers were concerned.
There were rumors, but this proves that Jonas didn't succumb to natural causes."
But why is Lyra working for the Order of the Hour now?
"An excellent question! If the Black Dragon really is Lyra, I'll kill the traitor myself!
Meet me in Kvatch, Assassin. I have a little resin remaining. With it, we might be able to determine what occurred during Lyra's final contract."

As he leaves the Sanctuary, Green will instruct you: "Shazara-Ta will return you to the Gold Coast. I'll meet you in front of Akatosh's Cathedral in Kvatch … after I pay my respects to these … memories." Return to Shazara-Ta and interact with her boat to return to Anvil. Then, head to Kvatch, and speak with Green-Venom-Tongue in front of the city's cathedral:

"I can't explain it, but I have a feeling that this is the place. Perhaps a residual effect of breathing so much of the fumes? I've only enough resin left for a few more precious seconds, so let's hope I'm right about this location."
I'm ready if you are.
"Then breathe deep of the resin's fumes one last time. Let's see if we can learn the fate of my lost Sister, Lyra."

Lyra will fade into view, standing out in the open in the middle of Kvatch's central street, directly in front of the Cathedral where a high-ranking priest was murdered, still holding her swords. A man carrying a staff will approach her from behind, and tap it on the ground to get her attention. She'll spin around and brandish both weapons toward him.

"Put away your weapon, child. We have much to discuss."
Artorius: "Put away your weapon, child. We have much to discuss."
Artorius: "You feel lost, without purpose. But the opposite is true. Everything has led you to me."
Lyra Viria: "Oh really? I just see another witness that needs to be silenced."
Artorius: "I performed the Sacrament that brought you here. Not because Primate Jonas needed to die, but because the Dragon God wanted us to join forces."
Lyra Viria: "Join forces? I don't understand …."
Artorius: "You need to turn away from the Void and step into the light. Join me and together we'll walk the path to redemption."
Lyra Viria: "Redemption? I'm a murderer! There's no redemption for someone like me."
Artorius: "Nonsense, child. Akatosh performs more impressive miracles than that all the time! We just need to turn your talents to the holy work of the Dragon God."
Artorius: "Become my champion, a sword of Akatosh—my Black Dragon that burns away evil's darkness."
Lyra Viria: "I … yes. I see it now. I pledge my blade and my life to you and to Akatosh. Show me the way."

With that perfectly innocent and ordinary conversation concluded in public where anyone could see it, the images of Lyra and Artorius fade away. Speak to Green-Venom-Tongue:

"The visions don't lie. The fumes confirmed my worst fears. Lyra abandoned the Dark Brotherhood and became the Black Dragon. She betrayed us all."
I know you were hoping we were wrong about Lyra.
"Lyra Viria died the day the Black Dragon was born, just as the journal said. My friend is gone.
All that remains is another enemy of the Dark Brotherhood. An enemy that will die by my hand."
It sounds like the Black Dragon serves Primate Artorius.
"And that's information we need to convey to Astara.
Servant and master both need to be dropped into the Void for daring to strike against us."

As Green-Venom-Tongue runs out of Kvatch, he'll say to you, "Let's return to the Sanctuary and tell Astara what the fumes revealed. I'll meet you there." Return to the Sanctuary, where you'll find Green-Venom-Tongue telling Astara what the fumes revealed:

Astara Caerellius: "Of course I know where you went, Venom. If I didn't intend for that to happen, you'd be a backpack by now. Tell me what you uncovered."
Green-Venom-Tongue: "All evidence points to one conclusion—Lyra is the Black Dragon. And she's working for Primate Artorius."
Astara Caerellius: "The Black Dragon was one of us. She knows how we think, how we act. Artorius uses our own weapon against us!"
Green-Venom-Tongue: "Give me the order, Matron. Let my blade be the one that ends the Black Dragon's life."
Astara Caerellius: "Patience, Brother. Let me consider the ramifications. Your connection to Lyra could be a boon in this matter, but it could also be a detriment."
Astara Caerellius: "Ah, here comes our Assassin. Back from the wilds of Black Marsh, I see. Come. Let's talk."

Speak to Astara to complete the quest:

"Green-Venom-Tongue gave me his report on your little jaunt. What you discovered shows how the past sometimes comes back to haunt us.
Since this concerns the Primate, Speaker Terenus and the Black Hand will determine our next move."
You're not angry? We never actually received permission to go to Venom's former sanctuary.
"Would you prefer punishment to praise, Assassin? Let the Black Hand decide how we navigate these troubled waters. For now, work your contracts. Sharpen your skills.
The Black Dragon will pay for her transgressions, as will her master, Artorius."


  • Prior to Update 39, this quest required you to have reached Dark Brotherhood Rank 6.
  • You can speak to Astara and inform her of Green-Venom-Tongue's plan before traveling to the Blackwood Borderlands. This does not change your dialogue with her at the end of the quest.
  • During the visions in the sanctuary, Lyra doesn't have a nameplate, unlike the Brotherhood members that are slain.
    • The same applies to Speaker Arawen.
  • Green-Venom-Tongue disappears from the Gold Coast sanctuary after his scripted dialogue with Astara after returning.


  • If you use the boat to return to the Gold Coast from the Blackwood Borderlands mid-quest, the quest marker will no longer appear over the cart at the stables, as well as in the map and compass HUD. ?
    • Additionally, upon coming back to the Blackwoods Borderlands, Green-Venom-Tongue will have moved directly to the Sanctuary instead of still being near the boat like he was initially. ?
  • After completing the objectives to look at the evidence in the sanctuary, the quest marker on the map for Green-Venom-Tongue will point at the center of the ruins instead of where he is close to you. ?
  • After completing this quest, the next main quest won't appear right away. You must leave the central chamber and return to make it appear. ?

Quest StagesEdit

A Ghost from the Past
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
I should head into the Sanctuary and talk to Green-Venom-Tongue
Objective: Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue
  Green-Venom-Tongue is arranging transportation for us to his former Sanctuary. When I'm ready to depart, I should meet him near the gates of Anvil.
Objective: Meet Green-Venom-Tongue Near Anvil
I met up with Green-Venom-Tongue in Anvil. He arranged for an Argonian tracker named Shazara-Ta to transport us to his former Sanctuary. I should climb aboard her chart when we're ready to make the trip.
Objective: Travel to the Purified Sanctuary
After traveling by horse and cart to Blackwood and then by boat up the river, we've reached the vicinity of Green-Venom-Tongue's former Sanctuary. Now I should follow him to the exact location.
Objective: Enter the Purified Sanctuary
Objective Hint: Wait for Green-Venom-Tongue to Open the Door
We passed through the Black Door and into the old Sanctuary. I should talk to Green-Venom-Tongue and find out how he thinks we should proceed.
Objective: Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue
Green-Venom-Tongue burns resin from the Hist. He claims the fumes will allow us to see truths hidden in the ruins. We should search the Sanctuary and see what the fumes reveal.
Objective: Search the Sanctuary
We saw reflections of what occurred here. Lyra was the Black Hand's instrument in purging the Sanctuary. I should talk to Green-Venom-Tongue and see what he thinks we should do next.
Objective: Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue
Green-Venom-Tongue wants to use the last of the resin fumes to see if any signs of Lyra remain around the shrine of Sithis. He said to approach the shrine and see what is revealed.
Objective: Approach the Shrine of Sithis
We saw through the resin fumes how Lyra completed her mission to purge this Sanctuary and then received a new contract that took her to Kvatch. I should talk to Green-Venom-Tongue to see if we've learned everything we can here.
Objective: Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue
Green-Venom-Tongue wants me to meet him in Kvatch, in front of the Cathedral of Akatosh. He hopes to use the last of his resin to see what occurred during Lyra's contract to kill Primate Jonas.
Objective: Meet Green-Venom-Tongue in Kvatch
Once more the fumes of the burning resin reveal events from the past. I should pay attention and find out what happened to Lyra in Kvatch.
Objective: Learn Lyra's Fate
We saw how Primate Artorius convinced Lyra to become his Black Dragon. I should talk to Green-Venom-Tongue and see what he thinks about all this.
Objective: Talk to Green-Venom-Tongue
Finishes quest  I should return to the Sanctuary and tell Astara what we learned about the Black Dragon.
Objective: Talk to Astara
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.