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Skyrim:Diplomatic Immunity

Skyrim: Quests: Main Quest
 
SR-qico-Main.png
Infiltrate a party at the Thalmor Embassy.
Quest Giver: Delphine
Location(s): Riverwood, Solitude, Thalmor Embassy
Prerequisite Quest: A Blade in the Dark
Next Quest: A Cornered Rat, Find the Thalmor Assassin
Reward: None
ID: MQ201
 
The party

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Talk to Delphine in Riverwood.
  2. Meet Malborn in Solitude and give him any equipment you want smuggled into the embassy.
  3. Meet Delphine at the stables, wear the party clothes and hop in the carriage for a ride to the embassy.
  4. At the embassy, create a diversion and slip away from the party with Malborn.
  5. Recover Thalmor intelligence files from the ambassador's office.
  6. Go down to the dungeon and recover the rest of the documents.
  7. Obtain the key to the trapdoor and escape.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

The ThalmorEdit

Malborn inside the Winking Skeever

Travel to Riverwood. If you choose to travel with Delphine, and come close to her, she will stop and explain the complex background story about the Blades and how the Aldmeri Dominion wiped out all Blades during the Great War. While her memory of past events seems checkered at best, she at least provides some background information behind her hatred towards the Thalmor and a valid reason on why she suspects them for being responsible for the dragon attacks.

Due to a travel bug, it is best to chat with Delphine at the beginning of her trip, then stop by the Braidwood Inn and rest, giving her time to travel alone. She has no special commentary at waypoints in this direction. Delphine will appear at The Bannered Mare in Whiterun and fuss at the Dragonborn for not meeting her in Riverwood.

Once back in the Sleeping Giant Inn, she will head down to the secret basement and reveal that she has a plan. Thalmor Ambassador Elenwen often throws parties for the upper-class citizens of Skyrim. You are to meet a "man on the inside", Malborn, who will help you to the best of his abilities. He will meet you at the Winking Skeever in Solitude. In the meantime, Delphine will work on getting you a formal invitation to the party. Travel to Solitude and see Malborn.

The Wood ElfEdit

According to Delphine, the Thalmor killed Malborn's entire family back in Valenwood, giving him plenty of good reason to help you out. You will find him inside the Winking Skeever, trying to keep a low profile. He will be quite surprised that she picked you for such a dangerous infiltration job, but will explain the situation. You are to carefully choose some equipment that he can smuggle into the embassy, preferably stealth-based, and he advises you not to try to bring anything yourself. When you're ready, hand him your preferred equipment. Don't forget to give him lockpicks if you want to access locked containers in the Embassy. After you close the menu, he will get up and leave.

Delphine will now be waiting for you at Solitude Stables, just southwest of Solitude. Once you arrive, she will ensure that everything went smoothly with Malborn and will then hand you an official invitation along with a set of party clothes and boots to look the part. After you have changed she will take your remaining equipment and you will automatically board the carriage to the Thalmor Embassy.

High-Class PartyEdit

The Thalmor Embassy
"I am Elenwen, the Thalmor Ambassador to Skyrim."

The carriage driver will drop you off in the courtyard of the embassy and you will be greeted by the drunken ramblings of a Redguard named Razelan, apparently a high-ranking officer in the East Empire Company. As you approach the entrance, a Thalmor Soldier will ask for your invitation, so show it and go inside. Once you enter, party host Elenwen will be quick to seek you out and ask too many questions. Luckily, your friend Malborn is standing right behind her and will soon interrupt the embarrassing conversation and point Elenwen's attention elsewhere. Talk to Malborn, who will brief you; you are to create a scene so he can unlock the back door unnoticed.

Look around the room and check out the guests. When asking around, you will quickly notice that the guests are either hateful Thalmor or high-ranked denizens of Skyrim who only participate in the party for personal benefit. With the exception of the hostess Elenwen, the drunken Razelan, the servant Brelas and the bard Illdi (or Grete if Illdi is dead ), the guests are often randomized or determined from your previous actions before even starting the quest.

You can quickly create the distraction by talking to Erikur. Listen to his speech, then wait for him to harass Brelas. After he is finished, walk back to him and offer to talk to her in his stead. He will be very grateful. Regardless of what you say to Brelas, when you return to Erikur tell him, "Yes. She said she can sneak you up to her quarters right now". He will then immediately go to her and begin to accost her, drawing the attention of the guards. Quickly return to Malborn and proceed to the kitchen. There are no persuasion checks required for this and his disposition towards you does not affect the dialogue.


Party Conversations

In this randomly determined conversation, Elenwen will politely ask the guests if they're liking the party. Depending if they're happy or not, their answer will vary:

Order Speaker Line
#1 Elenwen "Are you enjoying the party?"
"Is the food and drink to your liking?"
"Is my staff seeing to your needs?"
#2 (in the faction MQ201PartyGuestHappy)
Orthus Endario
Proventus Avenicci
Siddgeir
Maven Black-Briar
Erikur
Elisif the Fair
"Everything is splendid, thank you."
"Very much so, and thank you for asking."
(in the faction MQ201PartyGuestUnhappy)
Aquillius Aeresius
Razelan
Balgruuf the Greater
Idgrod Ravencrone
Igmund
General Tullius
Vittoria Vici
"As much as can be expected, yes."
"I have no complaints."
"I suppose so, yes."
#3 Elenwen "Splendid. Call if you have need of me."
"It pleases me to hear you say so."
"Excellent. I'll leave you to it, then."

The Jarls aligned with the Empire may also talk about problems running their hold due to recent events. They can either be Idgrod Ravencrone, Balgruuf the Greater, Siddgeir, Igmund, or Elisif the Fair. Again, they will choose between random lines:

Speaker Line
Jarl#1 "We've got our hands full dealing with the Stormcloaks. What about you?"
"Are the dragons frightening your people as much as they're frightening mine?"
"Have you found it difficult to get provisions lately? I can scarcely feed the staff in my palace."
"Between the dragons and the Stormcloaks, my coffers are running dry."
Jarl#2 "We've had the same troubles."
"I've spent many hours in council meetings lately grappling with that problem."
Jarl#1 "With any luck, a worthy hero will step forward and solve our problems, just like in the tales of old."
"We must keep faith in ourselves and the Divines."
"These are troubling times, indeed."

In yet another conversation, the party guests (except Ondolemar) will discuss current events:

Speaker Line
Guest#1 "I heard Elenwen say she's going open a bottle of her best Firebrand Wine later. I can hardly wait."
"These Stormcloaks are nothing more than an armed mob. This war won't last much longer."
"I hope they'll serve the roast venison with bittergreen sauce that we had at the last party. That was delicious."
"This war has taken a toll on the merchants of Skyrim. Let's hope that it ends soon, for their sake."
"I look forward to the day when this rebellion is put down, and we once again have peace."
"The Gray Quarter in Windhelm is little better than a slum. It's shameful that the dark elves are made to live that way."
"With the soldiers all fighting in the war, there's nobody to hunt down the bandits. Travel has become dangerous of late."
"It's been a brutal winter. I can't remember the last time it was this cold, and for this long."
Guest#2 "Yes, I agree with you. Have you heard any news from the other parts of Skyrim?"
"You speak truly. Have you heard any interesting rumors of late?"
"I'll not argue that. Heard any interesting gossip lately?"
"I couldn't agree more. By the way, have you heard any interesting rumors lately?"
"I couldn't have said it better myself. It's been some time since I've had news from elsewhere in Skyrim. What have you heard?"
"I know just what you mean. Heard anything interesting lately? Any news or gossip?"
Guest#1 "Well, I did hear that the Argonians have been banned from living inside the walls of Windhelm. They're only allowed on the city docks now. Most of them sleep together in one building, and they're as poor as wretches."
"Have you visited Rorikstead lately? No matter how harsh the winter, the crops that grow there never falter. Even when every other farm in the hold is barely scraping by, the harvest at Rorikstead is always bountiful. Is it good fortune? The blessings of the Divines? Who knows?"
"Now that I think on it, I did hear something rather interesting the other day. Apparently, the Red Wave has been docked in Solitude for well over a month, and with no sign of shipping out any time soon. Some say the ship suffered damage to her hull when she struck an iceberg, and Captain Safia can't afford the repairs. Of course, she would never admit such a thing. Captain Safia is far too proud a woman for that.
"Well, there might be nothing to it, but I've heard that the feud between the Gray-Manes and the Battle-Borns in Whiterun has grown ugly. Fralia Gray-Mane is convinced that the Battle-Borns have abducted one of her sons."
"I'm not sure that it's news, but lately it seems like every blacksmith in Skyrim is out to prove that he's the equal of Eorlund Gray-Mane. It's not really a fair comparison, if you ask me. After all, Eorlund works the Skyforge. How is any smith going to compete with that?"
"Well, I did see something interesting not long ago. There were several Khajiit camped outside the walls of Whiterun. Seems they've been traveling around the whole of Skyrim peddling their wares. You've got to admire their courage, doing something like that with dragons on the loose and a war going on."
"I heard those mages up in Winterhold have been trying to figure out how many dragons there are in Skyrim. They seem to think it's at least a dozen, but I'm sure they're exaggerating. They're probably trying to scare us into giving them more money and influence, so they can save us from the dragons threat."
"Well, I did hear that Ulfric Stormcloak was slain while defending Windhelm against a dragon, but it sounds too good to be true. I'll wager it was Ulfric himself that started the rumor. Maybe he thought it would bolster recruitment." (only heard if Ulfric is alive)

Furthermore, a total of eight guests can provide the needed distraction- but only if you meet the requirements, or if they like you enough:

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Guest Parameters for appearance Parameters for distractions Check
Balgruuf the Greater Must have finished Battle for Whiterun(?) (?)
Distraction Dialogue

Balgruuf the Greater: It's all for a good cause, old chap.
Balgruuf: Ulfric Stormcloak? The rightful High King? That's bordering on treason, man! Stand up. Stand up, I say!
Razelan: I don't understand... did you say Ulfric Stormcloak? Fine fellow, although a bit too fond of... I mean, no, of course, I condemn him in the most...
Balgruuf: You take it back then? You retract your statement? Well?
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Balgruuf: Tell your men to stand down. I don't need any help dealing with this kind of fool. He isn't worth the trouble. I apologize for the disruption to such a festive occasion.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Elisif the Fair May or may not appear. relationshiprank>0 (Complete Elisif's Tribute) and persuade(50)
Distraction Dialogue

Elisif the Fair: What...! Do you know who I am? I should have you taken up and flogged!
Razelan: Of course I know who you are... I didn't mean to suggest, that is, I don't even remember saying that...
Elisif: There's no excuse for your behavior! You behave like you're carousing in a house of ill repute, not the residence of the Thalmor Ambassador!
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Elisif: Oh... I'm afraid I may have overreacted. Please, I've already forgotten whatever it was he said to me. I'm sure he's learned his lesson. Let's try to enjoy ourselves.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Erikur May or may not appear. Speak to him ... Yes
☑
Distraction Dialogue

Erikur: There's a likely-looking filly. Even if she is an elf. You there! Serving girl! What's your name, dear?
Brelas: Uh, Brelas, sir. Did you need a drink? Something to eat?
Erikur: No, no, that's not what I'm interested in right now. I just wanted to get a better look at you. I like what I see, my dear. And believe me, I don't say that to everyone. I'm very discriminating when it comes to the female form.
Brelas: Um, thank you. Sir. Was there anything else I can do for you?
Erikur: Oh... not at the moment. Maybe later. Don't go far.
Brelas: Yes, sir.

  • At this point, you need to speak to Brelas, and then either lie to Erikur or tell him the truth.
Lie Truth

Erikur: Hello, my dear. I got your message. Where shall we go?
Brelas: What? I'm sorry, sir, but you must have misunderstood. I'm not permitted to leave the party.
Erikur: Oh, I don't think so. I think I understand perfectly. Don't worry, my dear, I will make any necessary excuses to your employer.

Erikur: So you think you can toy with me, is that it? No, my dear. I have my heart set on you, and I always get what I want.
Brelas: I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to give you the wrong impression earlier. I meant no disrespect.
Erikur: Don't worry, I'll let you make it up to me. Now, where can we go for a little privacy, hmm?

Brelas: No, I'm sorry, but I can't go anywhere with you. I won't. Please, I must get back to my duties.
Erikur: Don't you dare walk away from me, you slut! Do you know who I am?
Brelas: Please, sir, leave me alone!
Erikur: Now you're going to be sorry you crossed me. Elenwen! This servant girl has been throwing herself at me in a most disgusting manner.
Elenwen: Is that so, Erikur? And you with such delicate sensibilities. It must have been most upsetting.
Erikur: I demand that you have this wench removed from my presence at once!
Elenwen: Well. Whatever the truth of it, I'm sure a few words with Master Rulindil will have a salutary effect. Take her downstairs.
Brelas: No!
Guard: Yes, Madame Ambassador.
Brelas: Mistress Elenwen, it's not true! I did nothing! Sir, you must tell her! You don't know what they'll do to me! Please!
Erikur: Well, I'm glad that little unpleasantness is over.

  • Brelas will be found in the torture room downstairs. You can rescue her, after which she will move to the Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm.
  • "Helping" Erikur in this way befriends him, whether you lie to him or tell the truth, even if you rescue Brelas from her cell later.
General Tullius Must have finished Message to Whiterun and must not have a civil war attack going on. N/A
Idgrod Ravencrone Appears if Hjaalmarch is controlled by the Imperials and you are not on the quest Thane of Hjaalmarch relationshiprank>0 (Complete Laid to Rest)
Distraction Dialogue

Idgrod Ravencrone: An old woman can get away with almost anything.
Idgrod: No harm is meant to you happy fool.
Idgrod: Right here! I see it in your face! The snakes writhe behind your eyes! Get away, get away from me!
Razelan: Hmm? Did you say snakes? Where? I hate them, always slithering the way they do... what? Are they on me?
Idgrod: Begone, serpent! Begone from this house and trouble it no more! Beware of the serpent in your midst! Beware, oh people of Skyrim!
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Idgrod: Dear me. All this trouble over me? I think I was confused. There's no harm in him. Please, let him go.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Igmund May or may not appear. relationshiprank>0 and persuade(50)
Distraction Dialogue

Igmund: It's all for a good cause, old chap.
Igmund: Ulfric Stormcloak? The rightful High King? That's bordering on treason, man! Stand up. Stand up, I say!
Razelan: I don't understand... did you say Ulfric Stormcloak? Fine fellow, although a bit too fond of... I mean, no, of course, I condemn him in the most...
Igmund: You take it back then? You retract your statement? Well?
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Igmund: Tell your men to stand down. I don't need any help dealing with this kind of fool. He isn't worth the trouble. I apologize for the disruption to such a festive occasion.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Maven Black-Briar Appears unless you are on the quest Dampened Spirits or she's in the Ruling Government faction. relationshiprank>0
Distraction Dialogue

Maven Black-Briar: You've got a lot of nerve, suggesting something like that, to me of all people! If this was Riften, I'd have you thrown in the dungeon!
Razelan: What? I didn't... hmm? No, listen, you must have misunderstood... I don't mean to say I wouldn't be interested... what I mean is...
Maven: You're a disgrace to the Empire. To think that you're actually a representative of the East Empire Company. When people talk about the decadent, tottering Empire, it's people like you they have in mind!
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Maven: Well, now. There's no need to ruin the party on my account. I don't think he'll be bothering me again.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Ondolemar May or may not appear. relationshiprank>0 (Complete Search and Seizure) and persuade(50). Markarth must still be under Imperial rule. Yes
☑
Distraction Dialogue

Ondolemar: How dare you speak of the Thalmor in such a disgusting manner!
Razelan: What? I didn't... hmm? No listen, you must have misunderstood... I would never openly insult your... that is to say...
Ondolemar: Your insults and provocations have gone far enough! I'd kill you where you stand if I wasn't bound by my oath as an officer of the Aldmeri Dominion.
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Ondolemar: Forgive me, Ambassador. I allowed this... fool to provoke me. The fault is mine. There is no need for further disruption on my account.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Orthus Endario Complete Rise in the East. May show up if quest has not started yet. relationshiprank>0 (Complete Rise in the East). Yes
☑
Distraction Dialogue

Orthus Endario: Watch this.
Orthus: Hey Razelan, remember when you told me I'd never amount to anything? Well, I don't think you should say things like that about the Ambassador!
Razelan: What? I didn't... hmm? No listen, you must have misunderstood... I would never openly insult your... that is to say...
Orthus: I know you're drunk as usual, but that's no excuse for insulting our hostess. I don't think anyone deserves that kind of abuse! I've known plenty of elves who were perfectly decent people.
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Orthus: I'm sorry, Ambassador. I didn't mean to cause such a commotion. There's no need to have him thrown out on my account.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Proventus Avenicci Must be below stage 80 in The Whispering Door or have completed it[verification needed — I think one of these two will always be true.] and must not be on the quest Message to Whiterun. N/A
Razelan Always. Give him a drink Yes
☑
Distraction Dialogue

Razelan: Attention, everyone! Could I have your attention, please! I have an announcement to make!
Razelan: I propose a toast to Elenwen! Our mistress! I speak figuratively, of course. Nothing could be more unlikely than that someone would actually want her in their bed.
Elenwen: Razelan. What are you doing?
Razelan: Although... most of you are already in bed with her! But again... I speak figuratively, of course!
Razelan: Fine, fine. Get your hands off me. I'll be a good boy now.
Razelan: Wouldn't want to offend our Thalmor overlords, would we?
Razelan: Someone bring me a drink, quick!

Siddgeir May or may not appear. relationshiprank>0 (Become Thane of Falkreath)(?) and persuade(50)
Distraction Dialogue

Siddgeir: It's all for a good cause, old chap.
Siddgeir: Ulfric Stormcloak? The rightful High King? That's bordering on treason, man! Stand up. Stand up, I say!
Razelan: I don't understand... did you say Ulfric Stormcloak? Fine fellow, although a bit too fond of... I mean, no, of course, I condemn him in the most...
Siddgeir: You take it back then? You retract your statement? Well?
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Siddgeir: Tell your men to stand down. I don't need any help dealing with this kind of fool. He isn't worth the trouble. I apologize for the disruption to such a festive occasion.
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

Vittoria Vici May or may not appear, unless you have started the quest Bound Until Death. Complete The Spiced Wine(?) and persuade(50)
Distraction Dialogue

Vittoria Vici: Just play along.
Vittoria: How dare you! You disgusting pig!
Razelan: What? I didn't... hmm? No, listen, you must have misunderstood... I don't mean to say I wouldn't be interested... what I mean is...
Vittoria: The head office will hear of this, Razelan! You're a disgrace to the East Empire Company, and to the Empire itself!
Elenwen: Razalan. And you promised to behave yourself this time. Remove him. He's disturbing the other guests.
Razelan: I protest! This is an insult to the dignity of my person! This time I'm completely innocent! / This is preposterous. Disrespect... insulting! I am tired of being hounded from all sides! / Madame Ambassador, you know that I would never have behaved... that is to say... well I swear I'm innocent this time!
Vittoria: Oh, Ambassador Elenwen, that won't be necessary. It is just Razelan, after all. I'm sure he'll behave himself for the rest of the evening, won't you dear?
Razelan: Absolutely not! I protest... uh, that is, yes, of course. I still don't understand what just... oh never mind. / That is absolutely untrue! Uh, that is, yes, of course. What... I don't understand why everyone... never mind.

InfiltrationEdit

In the kitchen, the Khajiit cook Tsavani will complain about Malborn bringing a stranger into the kitchens, at least until Malborn reminds her of her secret Moon Sugar addiction. Malborn will then lead you into a room where you can receive the items you asked him to smuggle in. As soon as you exit through the door, Malborn will lock the kitchen area behind you and you are on your own, with the objective to find dragon-related intelligence. In the first hallway, you can eavesdrop on a conversation between two Thalmor Guards, hinting that Delphine may be wrong about the Thalmor:

Guard #1: "Did you see those robes march in this morning? Who're they with? More of the Emissary's treaty enforcers?"
Guard #2: "No. They're high mages, just in from Alinor. I guess Herself is finally getting worried about all the dragon attacks."
Guard #1: "Ah, good. I've been wondering how we were supposed to defend this place from a dragon."
Guard #2: "If a dragon does show up, maybe we'll get lucky and it will eat the mages first. Might give us enough time to kill it."
Guard #1: "Ha. I'd like to see those arrogant bastards taken down a notch. Always looking down their noses at us lowly footsloggers."

After a bit of mean-spirited laughter, one of the guards will say, "Well, we'd better get back to our rounds." and they will both return to their duties, unfortunately in the room you will have to pass through. Note that the full set of Thalmor clothes in the adjacent room was supposed to make you harder to detect, but due to a bug, the clothes don't work, as the desired effect was wrongfully set to the Hooded Thalmor Robes. You can claim a set of hooded robes from the Thalmor wizard in the upstairs area from the first room, but chances are he will detect you and call upon the two guards from downstairs. Regardless, you can choose between two strategies; either take the stealthy approach, with or without the hooded robes (see this section), or go on a rampage and kill everybody.

The first room contains the two talkative guards, with the Thalmor wizard patrolling the second floor. Right after their conversation ends, they will both turn their back to the door and return to their positions, giving you a chance to sneak upstairs and attempt to claim the robes by killing the wizard quietly. If not, you will have to take out the two guards and the wizard, and pick one of the two available doors leading to the outside courtyard. The area is patrolled by three Thalmor soldiers with another wizard standing guard near the front door to your target destination, the Solar of Elenwen. If you wear the hooded robes, the guards will not notice you, but the wizard cannot generally be avoided and will see through your disguise. To enter the Solar, you have a few options. The most straightforward is to fight them all. You can avoid the fight by using Calm, or by using Fury on one of the guards and then running in while they're busy with each other. Stealthy characters can fire arrows to distract the guards and pull the wizard away from the door. The door wizard occasionally looks to his left, leaving open an opportunity on his right for sneaking and invisible characters to get through the door before fully detected. Once the guards are dealt with and the way to the Solar is clear, enter sneak mode and head in.

The InformantEdit

Once you get inside Elenwen's Solar, the true face of the Thalmor will start to show, although not in the way Delphine expected. When the door closes behind you, you should hide behind the plant in the southwestern corner and eavesdrop on the conversation between the Thalmor torturer Rulindil and his informant Gissur in the neighboring room. The conversation centers on a prisoner named Etienne and an unnamed old man:

"He knows where that old man is you're looking for..."

Gissur: "But, I need that money! I earned it. I have my own expenses you know..."
Rulindil: "Silence! Do not presume, Gissur. You are most useful, but do not presume. We have other informants who are less... offensive."
Gissur: "But no one else has brought you such valuable information, have they? Etienne, he's talked, hasn't he? He knows where that old man is you're looking for, he told me himself."
Rulindil: "You'll get the rest of your money when we confirm his story. As agreed."
Gissur: "So he has talked! I knew it!"
Rulindil: "Everyone talks, in the end. Now, I have work to do. Leave me to it, if you ever want to see the rest of your payment."
Gissur: "Can I... I could help you. He'd talk to me. He trusts me."
Rulindil: "You'd like to come downstairs with me, is that it, Gissur? Shall we loose his bonds and put you in a cell together? You can ask him anything you like, and see how he answers."
Gissur: "No, no. I'll... I'll wait outside."
Rulindil: "That would probably be best. Now get out!"

While an insulted Gissur obeys orders and leaves the building, Rulindil will head downstairs and enter the dungeon, leaving the patrolling soldier alone with you. You can either sneak past him or kill him, as your objective is the chest in the northwestern corner. Open the chest and obtain the interrogation chamber key, Thalmor dossiers on Delphine and Ulfric Stormcloak, and the revealing document Dragon Investigation: Current Status, which proves the Thalmor are investigating the dragon attacks as well, with Rulindil in charge of interrogating a suspect in the cells.

Torture SessionEdit

Go down the stairs and enter the dungeon, where you will arrive at a balcony overlooking a bloodstained torture room and a number of cells. If he wasn't killed in the previous room, Rulindil will be seated at the desk, while a Thalmor Soldier will do the dirty work and torture Etienne Rarnis while Rulindil asks a series of questions:

"I don't know his name."
"And where can we find this nameless old man?"

Etienne: "Stop. Please. I don't know anything else. Don't you think I'd have told you already?"
Soldier: "Silence. You know the rules. Do not speak unless spoken to. Master Rulindil will ask the questions."
Rulindil: "Let's begin again."
Etienne: "No... for pity's sake... I've already told you everything..."
Rulindil: "You know the rules."
Etienne: "Noooooo!!!"
Rulindil: "Start at the beginning, as usual. If you persist in this stubbornness I'll have..."
Etienne: "No, wait! I was just... catching my breath... why wouldn't I tell you again? I don't even know anything... There's an old man. He lives in Riften. He could be this Esbern you're looking for, but I don't know. He's old and seemed kind of crazy. That's all I know."
Rulindil: "And his name is...?"
Etienne: "I don't know his name. Like I've told already a hundred- Ahhhh!"
Rulindil: "You know the rules. Just answer the questions. And where can we find this nameless old man?"
Etienne: "Like I said, I don't know! I've seen him down in the Ratway. Maybe he lives down there, but I don't know for sure."
Rulindil: "That will be all for now. I must say I continue to be disappointed in your lack of cooperation. I hope next time you will do better."
Etienne: "What else do you want from me? I've already told you everything. Listen, if you let me go I can take you to Riften, show you where- Gaaaaah!!!"
Soldier: "Silence, prisoner!"

Rulindil attacks.

With that last punch, Etienne finally loses consciousness and the Thalmor will leave him alone. Rulindil will stay behind his desk while the Thalmor Soldier will start patrolling the area.

Your objectives are in the chest right next to Rulindil and in the soldier's possession. Two more soldiers will enter as soon as you advance the quest. Also, if you've gotten Brelas in trouble, she is imprisoned nearby. You may wish to rescue her too. As such, the best way to proceed is to kill Rulindil and his accomplice. Rulindil is a powerful wizard with countless spells at his disposal. Depending on your skill set, you may choose head-on combat or stealth assassination. Sneaking up on them with a dagger is one option. Using a crossbow and two vials of Paralysis Poison is another. Rulindil carries a wide array of items, such as spell tomes, poisons, and enchanted jewelry. Be sure to collect them.

Now is a good time to save the game, if you want Malborn to survive and give you optional quest later on.

Escape the EmbassyEdit

Enter Etienne's cell and tell him that you are here to help. Cut him loose and ask him if he knows anything of importance; he will then tell you about Esbern and the quest will update. You can also ignore Etienne and look in the chest by the back wall to the right of his cell, which contains a book titled Thalmor Dossier: Esbern; if you read it, the quest will also update. When that happens, quickly run up the eastern set of stairs, where you will find Malborn, now exposed for his treachery, and two Thalmor Soldiers. They will kill him on the spot if you let them, so kill both of them quickly and don't hit Malborn. After the battle, search the corpses for the trap door key (or pickpocket the key without combat) and return to Etienne who will be waiting near the trap door, or just go to the trap door. This will also be your last chance to free Brelas if you involved her in your distraction by speaking to Erikur.

You will now have up to three followers, completely unable to fight, but unlock the trap door and enter Reeking Cave. Down there, a troll resides, so run ahead of the fugitives and kill it before they even notice it (as they will try to fight it and get killed in the process). If you had a follower when you spoke to Delphine at the stables, he or she will probably enter the cave at this point from the other side, and help to kill the troll. You can also just run through because trying to kill a big troll with your weak followers in the way is really hard without getting them killed. Lastly, locate the tunnel with a dead conjurer, the Illusion skill book Before the Ages of Man and an Unusual Gem. Find the exit and prepare to deliver some surprising news to Delphine back in Riverwood.

In the secret basement underneath the Sleeping Giant Inn, Delphine will anxiously await your return. When you tell her that the Thalmor have nothing to do with the dragon attacks, she will be quite surprised and ask for elaboration. When you tell her that they're looking for someone named Esbern, she will be shocked: "Esbern? He's alive? I thought the Thalmor must have got him years ago. That crazy old man... Figures the Thalmor would be on his trail, though, if they were trying to find out what's going on with the dragons." It turns out Esbern is a former Blade, just like Delphine, and that it makes perfect sense for the Thalmor to blame him for the dragons. When you tell her about Esbern's supposed location in Riften, she will immediately task you with tracking him down before the Thalmor do. She will then give you a secret phrase to gain Esbern's trust, the Diplomatic Immunity quest will end, and the next quest, A Cornered Rat, will begin. Remember to claim all your belongings from Delphine's chest before leaving for Riften.

AchievementsEdit

One achievement is unlocked when you complete this quest:

  • SR-achievement-Diplomatic Immunity.png Diplomatic Immunity (20 points/Bronze)

Hooded Thalmor Robes MethodEdit

If you want to use the Hooded Thalmor Robes, as intended by the developers, either acquire some from the random Justiciars found in the wilderness, or aim to kill the wizard on the first floor. After you don the robes, you will be undercover if you're an elf, can walk past the guards (at a distance) if you are human, or will be immediately exposed if you are Khajiit or Argonian:

Race Question
High Elf "Must be new around here."
Wood Elf "Seems a bit short to me."
Imperial/Nord/Redguard/Breton/Dark Elf/Orc "You there. I don't think I've seen you around before." or "Come here. Let me see your face." or "Haven't seen him/her around before." or "Must be new around here."
Beast Race (Khajiit/Argonian) "Wait, is that a tail?"

If you play as an Altmer, it's even possible to tell the wizard guarding the door to the Solar that 'Elenwen wants to see him' by passing a speech check, thus allowing free access to the Solar (if you cannot pass the speech check however, he'll notice that you're an intruder and everybody in the courtyard will turn hostile). Note that once you reach Elenwen's Solar, the patrolling guard, as well as Rulindil, are scripted to see through your disguise, regardless of race.

This method is possible with a reasonably high Illusion skill (over 50) as other races by using Calm spells. It does not work for any other guards during this mission, and once you are inside the Solar, the guards will attack you on sight.

NotesEdit

  • The Unusual Gem must be retrieved on your first visit if you have an early version of Skyrim installed. It is located in the master bedroom on the second floor of Elenwen's Solar. It is possible to return to the embassy from the cave, but it may not be possible to go back far enough.
    • This issue has been addressed by version 1.4 of the Official Skyrim Patch; the gem has been moved to the lower part of Reeking cave.
  • During the party, you are not able to ready weapons, crouch, wait, or shout. After sneaking away from the party, these functions are re-enabled.
  • Malborn and the two guards are not present until you pass through a trigger point. It is possible, either accidentally or deliberately, to miss/avoid the trigger point. In order for you to open the trap door you must cause those guards to spawn as they both carry the same keys to the escape trap door.
    • Reading the Dossier on Esbern should trigger their spawn.
  • Any prisoners you rescued will start to run toward Solitude shortly after exiting Reeking Cave. There is a chance they will run into a hostile random encounter and be killed. If you follow them and keep them alive they will eventually end up near the Dainty Sload whereupon they vanish. They can be encountered elsewhere later. Their deaths can also be avoided by fast-traveling once you are outside Reeking Cave.
  • During the time this quest is active, Alduin can be seen resurrecting Vuljotnaak at a dragon burial mound near the intersection of Whiterun Hold's southern road and the northwest-bound road that heads to Rorikstead.

BugsEdit

  • If you follow Delphine on the way back to Riverwood, she may stop at Mixwater Mill and retrace her steps, running up and down the road repeatedly. This is due to a conflict in her travel packages, as she is sent to both Riverwood and Whiterun. The shortest path to Riverwood leads past Mixwater Mill, while the shortest path to Whiterun leads past Anga's Mill. If you stop following her, she will continue past Anga's Mill to Whiterun.
  • If by some chance the guards have died prior to this quest (a dragon attack, for example), they may not respawn for the quest once it starts and thus will not ask for your invitation and will not unlock the door, preventing you from proceeding from the quest.
  • Razelan may not speak with you for a distraction, preventing quest progress if there are no other guests to provide distractions.
  • Sometimes the next quest will not be started after the completion of this quest.
  • Several party guests may not appear at all, or if they are currently involved in other active quests.
  • The Thalmor Robes are supposed to function as a disguise, but this does not work, even as an Altmer. Despite having the same effect, MQ201ThalmorDisguise, only the Hooded Thalmor Robes work. You can obtain one from the wizard upstairs. It is also possible to smuggle these robes into the Embassy and use them as disguise.
    • PC Only This issue has been addressed by version 1.3.3 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch; both hooded and unhooded robes now work for Altmer as intended, as does elven armor. Other races still need hooded robes, which are now on the table instead of unhooded ones.
  • Some quest related items will not be removed from your inventory when Delphine takes it. This includes weapons, such as Ulfric's War Axe.
  • If Etienne Rarnis dies before talking to him, the quest will not progress to the next stage. Reload if this happens.
  • You may not be able to retrieve your equipment, as the chest will be empty.
  • After Delphine takes your stuff and you exit the dialogue window, you may be frozen and unable to access your inventory, map, magic, or skill perks menu. You can access the start menu and fast travel but you will remain frozen.
    • PC You can fix this with the console command, setstage MQ201 100
    • Another way to fix this is to empty your inventory before talking to Delphine at the stable.
  • Delphine may not give you the party clothes, preventing you from putting them on to continue the quest.
  • The Thalmor disguise will not work if you are a vampire, as vampires use a Nord race template. ?
  • Guards may question and see through your disguise if you are above or below them, on another floor. Interestingly, just changing out of the Thalmor clothes is enough to have them stop detecting you, and they will now register that you're out of their eyesight. If you equip the Thalmor robes back, the bug will resume. ?

Quest StagesEdit

Diplomatic Immunity (MQ201)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
30 It seems that things are worse than even Delphine thought. Dragons aren't just coming back to life, they're being resurrected by other dragons. Delphine suspects that the Thalmor might be bringing dragons back for some sinister purpose. She's going to talk to her contacts about how we can infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy.
Objective 5: Meet Delphine in Riverwood
40 It seems that things are worse than even Delphine thought. Dragons aren't just coming back to life, they're being resurrected by other dragons. Delphine suspects that the Thalmor might be bringing dragons back for some sinister purpose. She's going to help me infiltrate the Thalmor ambassador's manor and find out what they know about the dragons. I should meet with her contact, Malborn, in the Winking Skeever Inn in Solitude.
Objective 10: Meet Malborn in Solitude
50
Objective 20: Give Malborn the equipment
70
Objective 30: Meet Delphine at the stables
100 It seems that things are worse than even Delphine thought. Dragons aren't just coming back to life, they're being resurrected by other dragons. Delphine suspects that the Thalmor might be bringing dragons back for some sinister purpose. I met with her contact, Malborn, who is going to smuggle some of my equipment into the Thalmor ambassador's manor. I'm going to infiltrate the manor posing as a guest at the ambassador's party. Once inside, I need to meet up with Malborn and figure out a way to slip away from the party without being caught.
Objective 40: Talk to Malborn
110
Objective 50: Create a distraction and get away from the party
140 It seems that things are worse than even Delphine thought. Dragons aren't just coming back to life, they're being resurrected by other dragons. Delphine suspects that the Thalmor might be bringing dragons back for some sinister purpose. Her contact, Malborn, smuggled some of my equipment into the Thalmor ambassador's manor. I infiltrated the manor posing as a guest at the ambassador's party. Now I need to search the ambassador's office to find out what the Thalmor know about the dragons.
Objective 55: (Optional) Retrieve your gear
Objective 60: Search for information about the dragons returning
160
Objective 60: Search for information about the dragons returning
170
Objective 60: Search for information about the dragons returning
210 It seems that things are worse than even Delphine thought. Dragons aren't just coming back to life, they're being resurrected by other dragons. Delphine suspects that the Thalmor might be bringing dragons back for some sinister purpose. With the help of her contact, Malborn, I infiltrated the manor posing as a guest at the ambassador's party. I've now learned that the Thalmor are just as in the dark as we are - in fact, they're searching Riften for a Blade named Esbern, who they believe knows what the return of the dragons means.
Objective 80: Escape the Thalmor Embassy
230
Objective 90: Talk to Delphine
250 Finishes quest☑ It seems that things are worse than even Delphine thought. Dragons aren't just coming back to life, they're being resurrected by other dragons. Delphine suspects that the Thalmor might be bringing dragons back for some sinister purpose. With the help of her contact, Malborn, I infiltrated the manor posing as a guest at the ambassador's party. I learned that the Thalmor are just as in the dark as we are - in fact, they're searching Riften for a Blade named Esbern, who they believe knows what the return of the dragons means.
255 Finishes quest☑
Unknown
Objective 70: Search the torture chamber
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 1, 10, 15, 20, 35, 90, 95, 98, 102, 105, 108, 120, 130, 150, 165, 180, 185, 190, 200, 202, 205, 208, 215, 220, 222, 223, 225, 227, 240.
Notes
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, 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.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage MQ201 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest MQ201.
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