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When you talk to Lod in Falkreath, he'll tell you about a dog he's seen to the west of town, and he'll give you some
so you can befriend it and bring it back to him. However, when you spot the dog, it will start talking to you, and you'll learn that its name is Barbas, that he's really a disciple of Clavicus Vile, the daedric prince of wishes -- and that Vile recently got mad at him and turned him into a dog. Barbas will then ask you to accompany him to Haemar's Shame, where you should be able to talk to Vile.
After giving you the quest, Barbas will set off for Haemar's Shame. He'll stop and wait for you if you fall too far behind, but you don't actually have to follow him. If you fast travel to Haemar's Shame -- or someplace close, like Helgen -- then Barbas will fast travel with you, and you'll cut down on the travel time.
When you get to Haemar's Shame (outside), Barbas will immediately head in and start making his way through Haemar's Cavern and Haemar's Shame (inside), killing whatever vampires and spiders get in his way. Barbas can't be hurt by these enemies, so you don't need to worry about protecting him, and you can take your time and explore if you want, or travel along with him. Barbas will stop moving when he reaches the Shrine to Clavicus Vile (#2).
When you get to the shrine and activate it, Clavicus Vile will thank you for "curing" his followers of vampirism, and he'll grant you a boon. No matter what you request, Vile will end up asking you to retrieve
The Rueful Axe
from Rimerock Burrow, and he'll promise you your reward when you bring it back to him.
You'll find Rimerock Burrow located in the northwestern corner of Skyrim. Barbas will follow you there (unless you tell him not to). Inside, you'll encounter a mage named Sebastian Lort, but if you let Barbas charge at him, then Lort will attack Barbas and ignore you, making the fight pretty easy. You'll discover
The Rueful Axe
sitting out on a table (#3).
When you return to Clavicus Vile's shrine in Haemar's Shame (#2), Vile will ask you to kill Barbas using
The Rueful Axe
. You'll have two choices for what to do:
- If you kill Barbas, then then you'll get to keep the axe.
- If you don't kill Barbas, then Vile will take the axe back, but you'll receive the
Masque of Clavicus Vile in its place.
If you don't care about either reward, then you can simply avoid completing the quest, and let Barbas (who can only be killed by the axe) stay as your immortal follower for a while.
Note: Only the
Masque of Clavicus Vile
will count towards the "Oblivion Walker" achievement, so you should spare Barbas if you're interested in that achievement.
Another Note: If you return to Lod after completing the quest, then he'll reward you with a small amount of gold.
1 - Book
On the table here you'll find the book
Response to Bero's Speech
, which will increase your Destruction skill by 1.
2 - Shrine to Clavicus Vile
3 - The Rueful Axe
4 - Book
On the end table here you'll find the book
2920, Hearth Fire, v9
, which will increase your Conjuration skill by 1.
- Passageway between Haemar's Cavern and Haemar's Shame.
- World exit.