Wisdom of the Ages
Quest Information
Starting Location: Priory of the Nine Undercroft
Starting NPC: Sir Henrik
Possible Reward(s): Shield of the Crusader

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After retrieving the Cuirass of the Crusader during the Priory of the Nine quest, you'll need to speak with all of the ghostly knights to learn more about the whereabouts of the remaining artifacts. When you make your way around to Sir Henrik, he'll reveal that he had taken the Shield of the Crusader to Fort Bulwark for safe keeping but died while defending the fort from would-be attackers. He figures that the shield is still there, but has no idea what sort of resistance you'll run into anymore as the fort was overrun so many years ago.

Fort Bulwark is located in the Blackwood Forest to the northeast of Leyawiin. You can't fast-travel directly there, but a trip to Fieldhouse Cave, the Onyx Caverns, or Fort Teleman will get you within walking distance. When you approach the fort, you'll be attacked by two fanatical Conjurers. Make short work of them, then head through the old wooden door leading into the fort's first underground level.

The underground section of Fort Bulwark is comprised of three separate levels, all of which are infested with Conjurers. The first level can be passed through fairly quick if you know where you're going. When you first arrive, follow the entry tunnel as it goes north and west, then take the first passage leading to the south. Kill the two Conjurers defending this section, then go through the large double doors to the west. A pathway beyond the doors leads you up to a locked gate and raised drawbridge, as well as a daedra that needs to be taken care of. Continue moving west through the next set of double doors and follow this tunnel to the northernmost room. Two more Conjurers await you here, so teach them a lesson in death and then turn the handle toward the back of the room to raise the gate to the east. Before moving on, read the Conjurer's Note lying on the table to learn that "The gate to the lower levels no longer halts our progress. Make note of the candles along the walls if you would pass through." You'll understand this clue shortly.

Now that the east tunnel is open, use it to reach yet another handle that will allow you to open two more gates and lower a set of drawbridges. Backtrack to the west, then follow the tunnel again toward the south until you're back inside the large central room. The northern gate is now open, so cross over the drawbridges beyond it until you reach a tunnel with twelve pressure plates. Notice the candles on either side? The number of candles resting next to each row of pressure plates reflects which pressure plate you should step on. One candle means the left plate, two candles means the middle plate, and three candles means the right plate. Using this method, you'll find that walking across the left, middle, right, and left pressure plates raises the last gate. Step forward and pass through the double doors into Fort Bulwark's second underground level.

This floor must have been the fort's main prison, as cells line the tunnel ahead of you. When you reach the second cell to the north, a man behind its bars will begin shouting for help. Use the nearby handle to raise his gate and strike up a conversation with him. He'll tell you that he is Sir Thedret and that he came here in search of the shield quite some time ago. He was ambushed by these "scoundrels" and tortured for information about how to obtain the shield. He never told them anything, but now offers you a clue that he learned while researching these underground ruins: "When the eyes of the Guardians are upon you, Julianos will show you favor." Thedret doesn't know what it means, but he's convinced it will help you get to the shield safely. After revealing his clue to you, Thedret leaves to get some rest, promising to join your cause when his strength returns.

Continue moving north through the double doors and then take the curve to the west leading to a single door at the top of some stairs. Pass through the door, descend the next flight of steps, then kill the Conjurer to the south and use the steps along the wall to reach the upper floor. Follow this tunnel as it snakes its way to the west and into another larger room. The stairs to your right will bring you to yet another upper floor where you can turn a handle and lower a drawbridge, which in turn leads you to a second handle and a second drawbridge. Be careful when you're in between the drawbridges, though, as a nasty dart trap will begin pummeling you as soon as you cross. Once you're past the second drawbridge, move down the flight of stairs beyond and follow the path leading southwest into a large room filled with statues. Once you've wiped out the two Conjurers defending the area, you can get a better look at what you need to do here.

The base of each statue has a handle on it, which can be turned to rotate the statue about 45 degrees at a time. Remembering Sir Thedret's clue, move around the room and use each handle a number of times until all of the statues are facing the decorative plate in the floor. When you're confident that all of the statues are properly placed, stand on the plate for a couple of seconds. In a flash, all of the statues will disappear and a secret door to the south will grind open. Just beyond the secret door lies another door leading to the fort's third underground level.

This final level is uninhabited (the Conjurers apparently couldn't figure out how to get in here), but you'll have to deal with one last puzzle. When you reach the floor's main room, you'll discover eight statues lined up along the walls facing backwards. A stone chest lies at the base of each statue and one large stone chest lies on the raised walkway in the center of the room. This central chest will contain one of eight items when you first enter - Rodgar's Book, Rodgar's Gem, Rodgar's Goblet, Rodgar's Hammer, Rodgar's Helm, Rodgar's Skull, Rodgar's Stone, or Rodgar's Sword. Grab whichever item lies within, then step on the pressure plate in front of the chest. Notice one of the statues lighting up with a symbol in front of it? It may not represent the item you just picked up, but it will give you a clue as to which item should be placed in that statue's chest. If you place the item in the wrong chest, don't worry. All misplaced items will rotate through and reappear in the central chest sooner or later. If you don't feel like using trial and error to determine all of the correct item placements, here's a quick reference starting with the northeast statue and moving clockwise: stone, helm, goblet, sword, book, hammer, skull, gem.

When all eight items have been placed in the correct chests, a secret door to the north will grind open. At last, the room beyond the secret door contains the relic you seek - the Shield of the Crusader. Grab the shield (as well as the potions and scrolls surrounding it, if you wish) and use either of the passages to the east or west to reach another door to the north. This door will bring you to the opposite side of the drawbridge and gate you couldn't operate on the first underground floor earlier. Use the nearby handle and you'll have a straight shot out of the fort, allowing you to continue your search for the remaining relics.