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You'll receive this quest immediately after completing the quest
To start off this quest, you'll need to talk to Mercer Frey in the Ragged Flagon Cistern in Riften. He'll tell you that Gulum-Ei, the Guild's "inside man" at the East Empire Company, was involved in the sale of the Goldenglow Estate, and that he might know who the buyer is. Frey will then ask you to travel to Solitude and get the information out of Gulum-Ei without killing him. If you consult Brynjolf about the job, then he'll give you some background information about Gulum-Ei and the East Empire Company.
In Solitude, you'll discover Gulum-Ei relaxing in the Winking Skeever. When you ask him about the Goldenglow Estate, he'll reluctantly make you an offer. If you steal a
Firebrand Wine Case from the Blue Palace, then he'll tell you who the buyer is. Inside the Blue Palace, you'll find the wine case sitting in plain sight in a little-used hallway, so you shouldn't have any trouble stealing it.
When you deliver the
Firebrand Wine Case to Gulum-Ei, he'll pay you some soul gems for your work, and he'll inform you that it was a woman who purchased the Goldenglow Estate. He'll claim that he never learned the woman's name, and only noticed that she seemed extremely angry at Mercer Frey. Despite this information, you'll be skeptical that Gulum-Ei is telling you everything, and when he leaves the inn, you'll decide to follow him.
Outside the inn, Gulum-Ei will lead you to the East Empire Company Warehouse, which is located to the south of Solitude, and then from there he'll lead you to Brinewater Grotto (via Exit A). Gulum-Ei won't pay any attention to you during this trip, so you won't need to sneak or follow him at a distance to keep him moving. But inside the warehouse you'll encounter East Empire Wardens, and they'll attack you if they spot you, and so you might want to avoid them. The best way to do this is to climb up onto the shelves and follow Gulum-Ei while sneaking, but you if you know where Gulum-Ei is heading, then you can also just jump into the water and make a beeline for the exit.
When you reach Brinewater Grotto, Gulum-Ei will automatically move to the end (#6), which means you won't be able to follow him any longer. On your way to his position, you'll encounter lots of traps and bandits, which you're free to deal with in any way you want. When you eventually get to Gulum-Ei, he'll reveal that the woman who hired him is Karliah, "the thief who murdered the previous guild master, Gallus." Gulum-Ei will then give you his copy of the
Goldenglow Bill of Sale to prove his words, and he'll mention that Karliah was planning to travel to the place "where the end began."
Note: If you killed Gulum-Ei instead of following him, then you'll find a chest containing his confession at the end of the Grotto (#6).
When you return to Mercer Frey to tell him what you learned, he'll inform you that Karliah killed Gallus at Snow Veil Sanctum, and he'll speculate that that's where she's heading. He'll then invite you to meet him there, so the two of you can hunt her down. This invitation will trigger the next quest in the line,
Speaking with Silence.
Note: After completing this quest, Tonilia (in the Ragged Flagon) will offer to upgrade one piece of your Thieves Guild armor. The upgrade will increase the armor rating and the bonus of the item, so pick the piece you like the best. This is the only piece she'll upgrade.
1 - Book (On Shelves)
On an end table here you'll find the book
The Buying Game, which will increase your Speech skill by 1.
2 - Snorreid (Upper Level)
You'll find a man named Snorreid sleeping here. He doesn't appear to have any purpose.
3 - Cabin (Upper Level)
In the small building here, you'll find an
East Empire Shipping Map (plus some gold and jewelry) on a table. If you deliver the map to Delvin in the Thieves Guild then he'll pay you some gold.
4 - Ledger
If you ever get a "numbers" job for the East Empire Company, then this is where you'll find their ledger.
5 - Spider Nest
If you travel through the spider nest here (which will require you to bash down some spider webs), then you'll take a shortcut through the grotto, which will allow you to avoid a couple of bandits.
6 - Gulum-Ei
7 - Door
To open this door, you'll need to pull the middle lever to the west.
- Entrance to Brinewater Grotto. To reach this exit, you'll need to descend a set of stairs into the water, which will then lead you behind the shelves to the door.
- World exit.