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The Cult are the missionaries of the Empire, just as the Legion is its armed force. There are a few people you can talk to join, but all the quest-givers are in the Imperial Chapels in Ebonheart, so I don't see the sense in joining anywhere other than there. You'll have to cough up 50 gp to join, but as you complete tasks, you'll receive more than adequate compensation for your initial fee. To get started, go to Ebonheart, enter the Grand Council Chambers, and head straight to the door opposite you. Exit through there and the door to the Imperial Chapels is ahead on your left. Inside, talk to Lalatia Varian to join. There are four quest-givers here, and I don't think it matters who you talk to first, but this is the order I follow. Interestingly enough, you will actually reach the highest title in the cult before you even talk to the last quest-giver, and you never actually run the Cult, you simply ascend to the highest rank allowed.
Favored abilities: personality and willpower
Favored skills: blunt weapons, conjuration, mysticism, restoration, security, speechcraft, and unarmored
Friends: House Hlaalu and Redoran, the Mages' and Fighters' Guilds, Imperial Legion, Blades
Foes: Sixth House; Vampire Clans, Temple; Telvanni, Ashlanders, Camonna Tong
Head downstairs in the chapel and you'll see Tunifus (in high school they probably called him "tuna fish") and Iulus Truptor. Tuna fish is going to send you on a bevy of common item retrieval missions, called Lay Healer Quests. There is nothing special about any of the items he wants, so there is no real walkthrough for them. All of these items can be bought in stores, obtained from the corpses of common creatures, or obtained from common plants. In order, he's going to ask you to:
Once you're done with all this, you will have a ton of freebies he gave you, and you should be of Adept rank. Now turn your attention to the guy on the left.
- Get 5 Pieces of Marshmerrow
- Get 5 Pieces of Muck
- Get 5 Pieces of Willow Anther
- Get 5 Pieces of Scrib Jelly
- Get 5 Pieces of Corkbulb Root
- Get 5 Pieces of Rat Meat
- Get 1 Piece of Netch Leather
Iulus' quests are called Almoner Quests, and they are all about getting money (contributions) for the Cult. In short, if you have money on you, you never need to even leave the room except for two quests that require you to retrieve other items. Now, if you actually want to wander around and solicit for money again and again and again, go ahead – just talk to whomever Iulus directs you to. But if you don't mind paying out of pocket, you can. You get better rewards if you can exceed the amount you were sent to collect.
Collect Alms from the Skyrim Mission
Talk to the folks in the Skyrim Mission, right here in Ebonheart about "alms for the poor." You need to muster up 100 gold.
Collect Alms from the Argonian Mission
Talk to Im-Kalaya in the Ebonheart Argonian Mission and try to get 100 gp (disposition of about 50) from him. If you boost his disposition to 80 you'll get a better (200 gp) donation.
Collect Alms from Ald'ruhn
Talk to Aengoth the Jeweler, Cienne Sintieve, Codus Callonus, Malpenix Blonia, Edwinna Elbert, and Percius Mercius for sizable donations, and there are others who will donate smaller amounts. Again, and especially with an alms mission requiring a trip to and all over Ald'ruhn, I'd just pay out of pocket.
Get a Red Shirt and Vest
This time, Iulus wants you to find someone to donate a shirt and vest. The shirt/vest he wants is "common_shirt_04_c" which is the one with bright red sleeves and a dull brown-black vest. Any such shirt should do, but if you want to make sure, or if you don't have one, you can go to Falanaamo's clothier shop in Caldera and bring up the "shirt and vest" topic, and he'll toss you one for free, plus an extra pair of trousers for you. Sweet.
Get 5 Bottles of Cyrodiilic Brandy
Doesn't matter where they're from. A few folks will donate a bottle, but it can be a pain in the neck. Take a trip to Balmora's Council Club and swipe the 5 bottles from the closet just past and behind the bar.
Collect Donation of 500 gp from Cunius Pelelius
He's right inside Caldera's Governor's Hall. He won't cough it up. There is a long way to get him to give it up, but again, this quest just exemplifies my original position: just give Iulus the money yourself and you didn't even have to leave the room. Want the long version anyway? After Cunius blows you off, head upstairs and talk to Olumba gro-Boglar about Cunius. Then go to the Caldera Ebony Mine and talk to the slaves (bump their disposition to at least 55) and you'll learn that Cunius steals ebony from the mine. Now talk to Cunius again (wishing you'd taken the shorter route now aren't you?) and he'll give you some ebony if you ask about the slaves' statements. Now go sell the ebony and hope you get 500 gp for it because that's all you're gonna get from Cunius!
Collect Donation of 1,000 gp from Canctunian Ponius
This guy is in the East Empire Building here in Ebonheart. One last time: just pay it out of pocket – heck, pay 2,000 out of pocket to make it look really good. The long route here makes the last long route look simple. Still interested? Alright, but you were warned. Ponius will send you off to find Mossanon, who stole 3,000 gp from the Company. Basically, if you want your money, you're gonna have to find this guy. Go to Sadrith Mora. Near Wolverine Hall is Volmyni Dral's House. Go in, go upstairs, and confront Mossanon. You can beat him to death, threaten him, or charm him to get the money. Now return to Ponius and then to Iulus. Was it worth the trouble? Regardless, you ought to have made Theurgist rank by now.
Kaye is upstairs, near the door you initially walked in through. He'll give you more traditional quests called Shrine Sergeant Quests. Ready?
Recover Missing Chapel Limeware Bowl
Go to Gnaar Mok. Find Caryarel's house on the docks and break in. The bowl in question is in a barrel.
Help Nedhelas Free His Haunted House
Go to Caldera. Talk to Nedhelas, who is wandering around a la Fargoth. He'll toss you a key to his place. Go to his house and spot the trap door in the corner under some barrels and such. Head down into the Heleran Ancestral Tomb and confront the ghost within. And by "confront" I do mean kill. Done. Haunting broken. Go tell Nedhelas the news and report to Kaye.
Kill Thelsa Dral
Thelsa is in the Asha-Ahhe Egg Mine, south of the Khuul silt strider port. There are regular ole' miners within, so don't just go on a killing spree. As you wander through the mine, you'll spot these three people standing together, looking nefarious, if such a thing is possible. The tip-off that it's Thelsa and her pals will be their attack when you approach. So wipe up the floor with them and exit stage left.
Retrieve Linus Iulus' Personal Effects
Head to Mount Kand, which is north of Molag Mar. Once there, head up to the top of the mountain and levitate/look around till you spot the skeletal corpse that is all that remains of Linus. Pick up his staff and loot the corpse, then return.
Go to Hla Oad and find Okur's house. Talk to her and she'll send you to Yasamsi, a cave right off the road running south from Hla Oad. Inside are 4 bad guys you must kill, and loot Ralos Othrenim for the amulet that Okur wants (Julielle Aumine's Amulet). Return the amulet to Okur and return yourself to Kaye. You will find that you are able to advance to the rank of Primate, and that is the highest title available. You can stop with the cult right now if you want, but if you want to recover some cool items, go talk to Lalatia.
Lalatia offers you the Oracle Quests, which will have you retrieve powerful items. You can do as many as you want, or none, since there is nothing other than the items and adventure in it for you at this point. But hey, you're all about the items and adventure, aren't you?
Find the Ring of the Wind
Go to Nammu, a cave east and a slip south of Falensarano, near the shore at the tip of a little inlet. Inside, among others, is Galmis Dren, the wearer of the ring. You'll have to kill him, but don't kill the other guy nearby, Jon Hawker. You're going to want him alive, and you're also going to want a scroll of Divine Intervention for both this quest and the next. If you don't have one, you ought to be able to find one in the various crates and barrels nearby. After killing Galmis and grabbing the ring, talk to Jon Hawker and give him a scroll of Divine Intervention. He'll toss you some loot and split. You just helped out an avatar of Zenithar. Good job. When you go back to Lalatia, mention your run-in with Hawker/Zenithar. Lalatia will let you keep the ring, as well as all the other items you recover. Speaking of which, let's move on.
Find the Boots of the Apostle
You'll want a scroll of Divine Intervention and some means of levitation before you go to Berandas for this quest. Once there, you want to go from the Upper Keep to the Lower Keep to the Underground section of the keep, all while keeping (get it?) yourself alive. In the Underground, you'll find an area with a corpse on the ground and two winged twilights. Kill the twilights and loot the corpse for the boots in question. Now levitate up and on a ledge among a patch of mushrooms will be Ama Nin. Talk to her, offer her the Divine Intervention scroll, and she'll give you some presents. You just talked to the avatar of Mara. Neat-o. Go back to Lalatia for some more name-dropping ("you'll never guess who I ran into at the mall…") and close up this quest, again, keeping the booty (literally?) you secured.
Find the Ice Blade of the Monarch
Your next stronghold is Rotheran. Inside are a bunch of bad guys and a bunch of slaves. Kill the bad guys and free the slaves. One of the bad guys (Llaren Terano) has both the blade you're looking for as well as a few other items of immediate use. Loot everything. Now go and free the slaves (one of the other bad guys had a key) in the arena area. One of the slaves in one of the locked cells (Assurnarairan) will ask you for help. Give her the ring you took off Llaren and she'll vanish. When you go back to Lalatia you'll get the ring back, and or course, you get to keep the sword.
Find the Scroll of Fiercely Roasting
You'll need to go to Ashalmimilkala, a Daedric shrine west of Hlormaren, across a body of water, on an (almost) island. You're going to need to do some swimming and levitating inside the shrine (it's a mess). Once inside you'll face bad guys, naturally. The scroll itself is on a ledge near the body of Urjorad. One of the bad guys, Carelcamo, has a Sanguine belt on him. If you're going to do the Morag Tong quests, and fetch all the Sanguine items for Eno Hlaalu, you'll want this item so keep it somewhere safe.
Find the Skull-Crusher
You will need to levitate for this one. This hammer is in the Forgotten Vaults of Anudnabia, Forge of Hilbongard. Where's that? Well, first you have to find the Omaren Ancestral Tomb. Go to Sadrith Mora, and then go east. Over a ridge is a Daedric ruin. You will not find an entrance, but that's because it has none. Head northeast from the ruin and spot an island right over there. You should spot a door to the Omaren Ancestral Tomb. Enter the tomb (watch out for Daedra) and find your way to the Forgotten Vaults. In the Forge of Hilbongard, there is an anvil over a lava pool, and hovering above both is a chest. Inside that chest is the hammer. Levitate up, pick the lock, and grab the weapon. While you're here, levitate around to find two little shelf areas with additional loot (most notably, a the Daedric Face of Terror). Report back to Lalatia. You're done with her quests, but maybe not quite done yet…
Meet Tiber Septim's Avatar
If you have not yet competed the main quest, but are about to, and you have Wraithguard in your possession, stop by the Ghostgate Tower of Dusk. In the tavern area, to the right as you enter, is a guy named Wulf. Talk to him and he'll throw you a coin. An Old Man's Lucky Coin, that is. The guy is the avatar of Tiber Septim, and the coin just gave you a new power, Luck of the Emperor. There's nothing for you to do with this information, but it kind of rounds off the "meet the avatars" theme from Lalatia's quests. Actually, you didn't even have to be in the cult to meet him, but again, it just fits in here nicely.
Hey! Guess what? You're done with the Imperial Cult quests, Primate! Congrats!