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- Speak with Shield-Corporal Thjol.
- Read Brondold's Papers and investigate the leads.
- Find Lyris Titanborn at the Blue Palace.
- Meet with Queen Gerhyld.
- Question Greyga and Maugh.
- Gain access to and search Kasalla's Warehouse.
- Travel to Gorn's Lodge and search for signs of laborers or shipment.
- Report back to Lyris and head to Kilkreath Temple.
- Escort Fennorian while investigating the area.
- Lead Fennorian to his equipment for further tests.
- Talk to Lyris Titanborn.
- Head to the nearby ruin and confront Sister Ambritt.
- Talk to Fennorian and Lyris.
Welcome to SolitudeEdit
There are three ways you can begin the quest: you can pick it up from the Stories tab in the Collections menu, agreeing to warn Solitude after escaping the coven in Deepwood Barrow, or you can travel to Solitude via the automatically-unlocked wayshrine or a caravan from another city. However you arrive, a heavily injured man will run up to you and ask for your help. The man, Brondold, has difficulty speaking and little time to spare.
- "Ugh, there's no time. Take this. Keep it safe."
- Wait, what are you giving me?
- "Information. The Icereach Coven … at work in the west. Just need more proof.
Go! They're coming."
- Who's coming? The ones who attacked you?
- "Don't trust them! Only Lyris, she's—!"
- Hold on!
Too late; he will collapse and die. Then, one of the guards will arrive demanding answers:
- Shield-Corporal Thjol: "You, there! What did that fugitive tell you?"
When you speak with Shield-Corporal Thjol, he will immediately be suspicious of you, calling you a spy. You can either tell him the truth and mention the Icereach Coven or lie and say Brondold died before he could say anything. Either way, the Shield-Corporal will warn you about the spreading seditious stories before warning you to stay out of Solitude business.
After that warm welcome, he will let you go:
- Shield-Corporal Thjol: "Go on. Just remember, I'll be keeping an eye on you."
Once he has walked away, you can finally check what Brondold gave you before he died. The mass of bloody notes are Brondold's Papers and they are the only lead you have to figuring out what mess Brondold was involved in. After reading them you have three different things to check on: some suspicious crates at the docks, a meeting with someone at the stables outside Solitude and something left at a cryptic location.
To check on the marked crates, head down to the docks to the southwest of Solitude. One of the crates can be found at end of the dock near Ilfete. When you search inside you will find a hidden compartment and some Ash-Covered Fragments of pottery. If you have previously encountered the Icereach Coven, then the symbol used to mark the crates should look familiar.
- Korvynn: "Stay back! I'll do it! I'll stab you!"
She was recently visited by guards asking about Brondold and is wary of you. You'll learn that Brondold befriended Korvynn and asked her to keep eye out for any unusual happenings. The last time they spoke it was about "[...] the men with the job postings. A pair of wolves in sheep's clothing. Trying to blend in, but still rough around the edges. Same with their horses. Sheared mountain mares. Come from the Reach, I wager."
If you ask her to elaborate, she will explain that they were posting fliers around the city for some work in the Druadach Mountains and that they had disguised their Reach horses by shaving them.
The third lead, a hiding spot, is directly across the water to the south of the docks and can be reached quickly by swimming across. Look for a spot where there are some stone pillars near the shore. A hostile spriggan spawns here so you might need to kill it first. In the backpack is Brondold's Journal, which does explain some things.
Brondold and Lyris Titanborn were to meet with Gerhyld, the Queen of Solitude, with the evidence he discovered of something sinister happening in Western Skyrim. He was looking for evidence of the Icereach Coven but his mission in Solitude proved difficult due his status as an outsider. Before his death, he learned about someone who was smuggling items from Sentinel, strange job postings taking people to an unknown location, and disguised Reachmen.
Once you have followed all the leads, you will need to head to the Blue Palace and see if Lyris is still there.
Queen and TitanbornEdit
Enter Solitude and go to the Blue Palace which can be found at the eastern end of the city, on top of the stone arch. The courtyard will be mostly empty, but luckily Lyris will still be waiting. Just as you inform her of Brondold's death, Queen Gerhyld and her guard will arrive for the meeting.
- Queen Gerhyld: "Lyris Titanborn. Your reputation is known even here in the west. Is this one of your famed Companions?"
- Lyris Titanborn "No, but I assure you my partner is one of the Skald-King's best. Go introduce yourself, partner."
With no other options, you will need to assume the role of an agent of Jorunn the Skald-King and present the evidence Brondold uncovered. You will learn that Jorunn's sent a message about an assassination attempt by the Icereach Coven, but this warning was taken as a threat by High King Svargrim. While what evidence you have of suspicious activity isn't enough to warrant an audience with the king, it does prove to Queen Gerhyld that you are sincere and she will allow you and Lyris time to find irrefutable proof.
After your audience with the Queen is completed, talk to Lyris, who will be impressed by how you handled the situation. You explain what happened to Brondold and hand her the papers and journal for her to read through.
- "You handled that better than I expected. Now, what in Mara's name happened to Brondold?"
- He was fleeing pursuit and gave me a bundle of papers before he died.
- "Damn. Lucky thing he found you. Brondold was supposed to get the lay of the land before I got here. Without his information, my work for Jorunn the Skald-King could be over before it begins.
What did he give you? Hand it over."
- Here's everything I found.
- "Hmm. Smugglers and Reachmen up to illicit business. Nothing unusual there, but Brondold thought it could be connected to the coven.
I'm short a good investigator and you stepped into the role easily enough. Can I count on you to help me with this?"
- What do you need me to do?
- "Brondold mentioned some locals we should have a talk with. A snitch named Greyga who likes to gamble in back alleys, and an Orc named Maugh who frequents the Lonely Troll inn.
Let's find them and see what they can tell us."
Lyris will then accompany you as you go to question the citizens of Solitude.
Searching the CityEdit
Of the two leads, Greyga the snitch is closer to the palace and can found in the alley next to Proudspire Manor, in the middle of game with Birjhan and Carmara. When you ask her about the smuggled goods from Sentinel, she will have no desire to talk to you and will claim not to know Brondold or anything else. There are two ways to deal with this. You can persuade her by saying that Brondold died because of the crate's contents, or you can introduce her to Lyris and her battleaxe. Either way, she will tell you that a woman called Kasalla is picking up the shipments and that she stores them in her warehouse on the docks.
The other lead, Maugh the Orc, can be found at the Lonely Troll inn just inside the main gates. When you enter, Lyris will decide to handle the questioning and approach Maugh:
- Lyris Titanborn: "You must be Maugh. I have questions."
- Maugh: "Questions? Happy to oblige. Buy a few rounds and let's chat!"
- <Lyris unsheathes her axe.>
- Lyris Titanborn: "You're going to answer me, Orc, or …."
- <Svana interrupts.>
- Svana: "Hey! Nobody intimidates my friends!"
- <Lyris turns around, shocked.>
- Lyris Titanborn: "Princess Svana?"
Turns out Maugh counts Princess Svana among his friends. After the faux pas by Lyris, you instead question Svana about the people putting up suspicious job postings around the city. She will tell you that it was a charming Breton man who picked up around a half-dozen Nord laborers and were bound for the Druadach Mountains. You have the option of asking Maugh for his own thoughts afterwards and he will mention that the Breton's associates seemed to be Reachmen and they mentioned a lodge, and that the location stated on the flier was probably a lie.
After questioning both, you can then talk to Lyris about your next step. Between the mysterious Breton and his Reachmen allies and Kasalla at the docks, she will favor going after the latter first, as the location is known and the smuggler can narrow down the search for the former. When you arrive outside Kasalla's Warehouse, you will find a single sentry guarding the door. When you speak with the guard Huzodir, you get a lucky break as he recognizes Lyris and is a big fan of hers. He will leave his post after you convince him that Lyris will autograph something for him.
- Huzodir: "Oh, thank you. Thank you! You don't know how much this means to me."
- <Huzodir runs off to collect his scabbard.>
- Lyris Titanborn: "I don't know what you said to him, but this is our chance. Try the lock."
While Lyris guards you, you can pick or force the lock on the warehouse door. Being at trivial difficulty, it shouldn't give you much trouble. Once inside, search the three crates which have similar markings as the one you saw earlier. Inside the crates you will find: an Ancient Urn, Ash and Bones and Reach Ritual Fetishes. After searching the last crate, Kasalla will arrive with two underlings and confront you.
- Kasalla: "I knew whoever was poking through our shipments would return. Brought muscle this time, I see."
- Lyris Titanborn: "More than you. Care to try me?"
- Kasalla: "I'll pass. I just want to know who's been meddling in my business."
Luckily, Kasalla is willing to talk if you can give assurances. In her words, she has no idea about plots against the king and has merely been "facilitating a transaction between treasure hunters and a rich collector.", by transporting antiquities from Hammerfell. When you show her the Reach Ritual Fetishes, Kasalla will become furious as she doesn't deal with the arcane and they broke the deal. She will then tell you that she doesn't know who hired her and the people who pick up the shipments are always different. This time it was a smooth talking Breton. However, she does know that they are taking the latest shipment to a lodge in the foothills north of Solitude.
Afterward, you can talk to Lyris who will summarize what you learned. There is an unknown buyer who is having Reach fetishes and funeral urns transported out of the city, possibly for some kind of ritual. You can then decide to check the lodge while Lyris searches the nearby road.
She will then leave the warehouse, but not before a parting shot at Kasalla:
- Lyris Titanborn: "Give your sentry my best and tell him I owe him an autograph."
- Kasalla: "Oh, he's going to get more than an autograph if I see him again."
The Abandoned LodgeEdit
The lodge mentioned can be found by following the main road south (this cabin is northwest of solitude) until you reach a fork heading up into the hills. Follow the trail until you see the small building off to the side. As you approach, a vampire called Pentarch Zaros will appear in a swarm of bats and attack. Once you kill him you can enter the lodge and continue your search. While there are no sign of the hired laborers or the shipments, you'll find a letter, addressed to the vampire who ambushed you, on the desk.
According to the letter, some kind of ritual has been prepared and the latest shipment is to be sent to Kilkreath Temple. With this new lead, go find Lyris. She will be further up the road and will call out when she sees you:
- Lyris Titanborn: "Over here, partner."
She will be surrounded by the bodies of Reachmen warriors and witches who didn't feel like answering questions. When you tell her what you found, Lyris will be puzzled at why the Icereach Coven would be targeting a temple to Meridia and her followers. When you mention of the ritual she will be concerned and ask you to go to Kilkreath to warn the priests while she tries to talk to Svargrim once more. Before she leaves, Lyris asks you not to take unnecessary risks.
From your current location, there will a dirt path going southwest and is a quicker route to the Kilkreath Temple. As you get closer to your destination, an Altmer will run out from the trees, shouting a warning:
- Fennorian: "Stop! A disaster has befallen Kilkreath Temple!"
Fennorian is a vampire you may have previously met, and your conversation with him will vary depending on your prior relationship. But the same points are covered: you were too late to warn the priests as an unnatural storm recently hit Kilkreath Temple and the area is now filled with harrowfiends and vampires. This phenomenon is called a "Harrowstorm" by the Icereach Coven. Fennorian would like your help to investigate the area.
The first step is examining the burnt out Witch Pikes which can be found along the path to the temple. As you approach a nearby cave along the path, Fennorian will point out that there is a surviving priest of Meridia outside. You have the option of stopping and speaking with Priest Isonir and starting the quest Meridia's Brilliance, to help search for survivors. The two quests can be done together and can provide context for the aftermath of a harrowstorm.
When you examine the first Witch Pike you will find a foul-smelling Alchemical Residue:
- Fennorian: "An alchemical residue. That should prove useful."
The second Pike will be burnt, with no more power:
- Fennorian: "It's depleted. Just ordinary sticks and rope now. Interesting."
When you find the third pike:
- Fennorian: "Can you feel the lingering energy? That's Daedric, if I'm not mistaken."
Once you have found all three pikes, you can talk with Fennorian to discuss what you have learnt so far. The witch pikes were likely used as focal points for the ritual and had some lingering energy remaining. As for the Alchemical Residue, Fennorian is confident he can figure out its composition with time. He will then say that a cart of pilgrims left the temple just before the storm hit and asks you to check on them.
- Fennorian: "Strange. They're alive, but unresponsive. Check the crates and see if they contain the smuggled items."
Upon searching the cart you find another marked crate, which contains only Dust and Ashes. Fennorian isn't sure why the pilgrims were changed in such a way, but the only place you can check now is the epicenter of the storm—the temple itself. When you arrive at the ancient Nordic structure, you will find it crawling with harrowfiends and littered with the bodies of priests and pilgrims. You will need to examine one of the bodies:
- Fennorian: "These are temple priests and pilgrims. It seems the storm killed them."
When speaking with Fennorian, he will give his hypothesis of how the storms affect their victims. There are three distinct outcomes: it kills them outright, transforms them into vicious harrowfiends, or leaves them shells, practically mindless. Fennorian will need to collect more samples and his alchemical equipment for further research. At this point, if you haven't already searched the temple with Priest Bavian for the High Priestess, Fennorian is willing to wait outside while you do this. Once you are ready to continue, Fennorian will ask you to escort him to where he hid his equipment.
When you reach the spot, Lyris will barrel down the hill ready to split Fennorian in two:
- Lyris Titanborn: "That's close enough, leech!"
- <Fennorian throws his hands up.>
- Fennorian: "Wait! Wait! I'm not part of the coven!"
You have to talk to Lyris and convince her not to kill Fennorian. She willing to trust him due to you and his allegiance to House Ravenwatch, but has more important things to tell you. Namely, she has found one of the coven witches, Sister Ambritt, and if you're quick you might be able to catch her. Sister Ambritt was mentioned in the letter to the Pentarch as the one responsible for the harrowstorm.
As you leave, Fennorian will have a request for Lyris:
- Fennorian: "Perhaps I could question the witch before you introduce her to your impressive axe blade?"
Sister Ambritt and a ConclusionEdit
Sister Ambritt can be found just up the hill, in a clearing surrounded by Nordic ruins. Vampires will appear and attack you on you way to stop her. When you enter the open area Ambritt will appear on top of the hawk arch, commenting on your apparent survival:
- Sister Ambritt: "Not even harrowed? It seems the ritual needs refinement."
- <She teleports to the ground and summons two Death Hound to aid her.>
- Lyris Titanborn: "Kill her before she can summon another storm!"
When you engage in combat, Lyris will assist. Sister Ambritt will be gleeful for new bodies:
- Sister Ambritt: "Willing sacrifices? How nice!"
- Lyris Titanborn: "Sacrifice? I'd rather give you my axe, witch!"
During this fight Sister Ambritt will mostly use a bow. Her Freezing Leap attack can be avoided if you stay out of the red area of effect indicators when she jumps into the air. She will also summon more death hounds if the originals are killed.
As Sister Ambritt dies, Fennorian will arrive. He will be slightly annoyed that you couldn't keep her alive for questioning:
- Fennorian: "I hoped you could take her prisoner. No matter, I found something. This way!"
- Lyris Titanborn: "Go with your vampire friend. I'm going to look around here."
Follow Fennorian to the east where he will be examining an altar covered in broken urns of various sizes. He will recognize the urns as the ones from Bangkorai's Unhallowed Grave and conclude that they were used in the ritual. However, he isn't sure what the larger vessels were used for and needs to research further. He might have more information after some analysis. While Fennorian decides not to return to Solitude to you, citing his vampiric condition, he promises he will send word once he has something. He also mentions that he may contact Old Mjolen of Morthal for help.
While you were talking to Fennorian, Lyris will have arrived behind you. When you talk to her she will ask what you found out from Kilkreath.
- "So, what did your vampire friend discover?"
- Fennorian thinks the harrowstorms create the harrowfiends and the harrowed.
- "Reach witches summoning magical storms to create feral vampires? That's horrible, but to what purpose? Well, that's the next puzzle to solve. First, we need to get this information to the queen.
Here. This was for Brondold, but it's yours now."
She will then hand you the dagger Ambritt's Iceflame and some gold.
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