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You'll receive this quest immediately after completing the quest
To start off, you'll need to meet with Karliah in the Ragged Flagon in Riften. The back door to the Cistern will be locked (just for this stage of the quest), so you'll have to go in via the Ratway. When you reach the Ragged Flagon, Karliah will stop you at the entrance, and she'll lead you to the Cistern, where you'll show
Gallus's Encoded Journal
to Brynjolf, Vex, and Delvin. They won't want to believe that Frey has been stealing from them all this time, but when they check the vault, they'll find it empty.
Afterwards, when you talk to Brynjolf, he'll tell you that Frey owns a house in Riften called Riftweald Manor, and he'll ask you to search it for clues for where Frey might have gone. He'll then warn you that the house is guarded by a "watchdog" named Vald, and he'll suggest that you sneak in via a ramp leading to the upstairs balcony. He'll also recommend that you talk to Vex, who used to know Vald. Vex will tell you that Vald likes gold, and she'll suggest that you either bribe him or erase his debt with Maven Black-Briar.
You'll find Riftweald Manor next to the Temple of Mara on the eastern side of Riften. You'll have a few ways of dealing with Vald so you can get inside:
- You can simply enter the manor grounds and kill him.
- You can sneak past him.
- You can bribe, intimidate or persuade him (by talking to him at the back gate).
- You can talk to Maven. She'll tell you that Vald crashed his boat while transporting a
Quill of Gemination for her over Lake Honrich (the lake west of Riften), and that he was never able to recover the quill. She'll then make you an offer: if you can find the quill and deliver it to her, then she'll forgive Vald's debt. You'll find Vald's boat at the bottom of the lake roughly halfway in between the ship docked at Riften and the ship docked at the Goldenglow Estate. On the boat, you'll discover Vald's Strongbox (locked with an "expert" lock that you'll have to pick), and inside you'll find the
Quill of Gemination. When you take the quill to Maven, she'll forgive Vald's debt as promised, and when you let Vald know (by talking to him at the back gate), he'll stop guarding the manor.
Note: It's possible that Vex won't get the proper dialogue options for this part of the quest, and won't say anything to you about Vald or Maven. If this happens, then you won't be able to talk to Maven about Vald, and Vald's boat won't appear in Lake Honrich.
For most of these options, you'll end up with
Mercer's House Key
at the end, and the key will unlock the back gate and the only working door to the manor -- the upstairs balcony door that Brynjolf mentioned (the other doors will be permanently barred). To reach that door, you'll have to shoot the mechanism attached to the underside of the balcony, which will cause a ramp to lower.
Inside Riftweald Manor, you'll encounter a couple of bandits, but they'll conveniently stand with their back to you, and so you shouldn't have any trouble dispatching them. Then near one of the barred doors, you'll find a suspicious cabinet (#1), and when you open it up you'll discover that it has a false back panel that leads to some secret tunnels under the manor.
In the tunnels, you'll have to deal with several traps, most of which can't be disarmed, but then you'll reach Mercer's room (#2), where you'll find three things of interest:
Chillrend (in a locked display case). It's a leveled one-handed sword. You'll need to be at least level 46 to get the best version.
Bust of the Gray Fox (on a table). If you take this item to Delvin in the Ragged Flagon, then he'll reward you with some gold.
Mercer's Plans (on the same table). This is what you'll need for Brynjolf.
To get back to Brynjolf, instead of backtracking through the manor, you can just continue making your way through the tunnels. Shortly you'll come to an exit for the Ratway Vaults (Exit B), which are connected to the Ragged Flagon. Then when you show
to Brynjolf, you'll learn that Frey is planning to steal the Eyes of the Falmer. This information will complete the quest.
1 - Suspicious Cabinet (Main Floor)
2 - Mercer's Room
- Balcony exit to Riften.
- Exit to the Ratway Vaults.