Ulterior Motives
Quest Information
Starting Location: Imperial City Arcane University
Starting NPC: Raminus Polus
Possible Reward(s): Spelldrinker Amulet

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Once you've created your Mage's Staff in the A Mage's Staff quest, Raminus promotes you to the rank of Journeyman and offers you another task. The council is investigating what happened at Wellspring Cave and Raminus asks you to recover a book that may shed some insight into the matter. The book is on loan to Janus Hassildor, the Count of Skingrad, a reclusive man that's difficult to gain audience with. Raminus hopes that your status as a representative of the Mages Guild will help you speak with him. You're to travel to Skingrad and explain your situation to the castle steward.

Fast-travel directly to Castle Skingrad, move through the courtyard, and enter the county hall. When you speak with Mercator Hosidus, he'll tell you that the count has no interest in granting you an audience at this time but that he will personally try to change his mind on the subject. You're to return the following day to inquire about the meeting again. Simply wait 24 hours in front of Mercator and then speak with him again. He tells you that the count has agreed to meet with you, but not until 2:00am and not in the castle. Instead, you must take the road west of Skingrad and meet him at a designated spot southeast of the Cursed Mine.

Do as Mercator says and pay a late-night visit to the area just southwest of Tamika's Vineyards. Instead of the count meeting you there, though, you'll be ambushed by Hosidus and two Necromancers. During the battle, Count Hassildor will come to your aid, which should help you make short work of the trio. When they've been dispatched, the count will chastise you for your foolishness. He'll tell you that he knew about Mercator and that there was never any book for you to retrieve. Instead, the guild lied to you and sent you as a spy to determine if the count had "thrown in" with the Necromancers' Cult. Now that you're aware of the situation, the count tells you to return to the guild to tell them what has transpired and that if they want to speak with him again they should come themselves and not send someone under false pretenses. Fair enough.

Return to Raminus and demand an explanation. He apologizes and claims that it was never the Council's intention to put you in harm's way. Arch-Mage Travel feared that sending a high-ranking official might draw too much attention and drive the Necromancers underground, so the Council decided to hide the true meaning behind your visit. Accept his apology and Raminus will promote you to the rank of Evoker and give you the Spelldrinker Amulet.

If you inquire about another task from Raminus, he will tell you that there is a research project going on at one of the Ayleid ruin sites, and that you should report to the man in charge, Irlav Jarol, to see if he needs any help. This will trigger the Vahtacen's Secret quest.