Thieves Guild Quest: Darkness Returns

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You'll receive this quest immediately after completing the quest Blindsighted.


Your goal in this quest is to brave the Pilgrim's Path in the Twilight Sepulcher and return the Skeleton Key to Nocturnal. Since the Skeleton Key is useful (it's an unbreakable Lockpick), and since you won't get a whole lot for completing this quest, you might want to stall for a while and do some other things first.

You'll find the Twilight Sepulcher at the southwestern edge of the Skyrim map. Inside, you'll meet a Nightingale Sentinel (#2), who you'll quickly discover is the spirit of Gallus. Gallus will warn you that the other sentinels in the Pilgrim's Path (#3) will attack you on sight, and that you might want to read the journal of a thief named Nystrom (#1) to learn more about what you'll face.

The Pilgrim's Path is made up of four rooms, and you'll need to pass through them on your way to the Inner Sanctum (Exit A):
  • First room (#4). In this room you'll encounter three hostile Nightingale Sentinels ("vigilance everlasting").

  • Second room (#5). In this room you'll need to keep to the shadows ("the route of cunning"). If you wander into the light, then your health will drain quickly. If you proceed carefully and stop and heal when it's safe, then you should be able to make it through the room even if you can't tell which parts are lighted or dark. You'll have an easier time if you don't use the Candlelight spell.

  • Third Room (#6). In this room you'll find a statue of Nocturnal. To open the exit door, you'll need to pull the chains located on either side of statue, which will plunge the room into darkness ("what she desires most").

  • Fourth Room (#7). In this room you'll have to avoid some traps ("hesitate not"), or you can pick a "master" lock (#8) and deal with some more Nightingale Sentinels instead.
Inside the Inner Sanctum, you'll come to a pit (#10), and when you jump down you'll discover Anders' (Nystrom's Partner's) skeleton. When you loot it, you'll find Anders's Message, which will indicate that Anders starved to death in the pit. However, since you have the Skeleton Key, the Ebonmere Lock will soon appear, and when you insert the Skeleton Key, the Ebonmere will open up and Nocturnal will appear. She'll then congratulate you (more or less) for returning the key.

After your conversation with Nocturnal, Karliah will show up in the pit, and she'll explain that you can become one of three different Agents of Nocturnal:
  • You can become an Agent of Stealth by stepping on the crescent-moon circle (#11). This will allow you to become invisible for 120 seconds while sneaking.

  • You can become an Agent of Strife by stepping on the full-moon circle (#12). This will allow you to absorb 100 points of health from a target.

  • You can become an Agent of Subterfuge by stepping on the half-moon circle (#13). This will cause enemies to attack anyone nearby for 30 seconds.
The power you choose will show up in the Powers section of the Magic Menu, and you'll be able to use it once per day (by pressing the Z key on the PC). If you decide that you don't like your power, then you can pick a different one after waiting for 24 hours. Talking to Karliah and making your choice will complete the quest.

1 - Nystrom's Skeleton

On the ground here you'll discover the skeleton of a thief named Nystrom. When you loot the skeleton, you'll find Nystrom's Journal, which will give you some clues for the Pilgrim's Path. Next to the skeleton you'll also find an enchanted weapon and a satchel with some miscellaneous objects inside.

2 - Nightingale Sentinel

3 - Entrance to the Pilgrim's Path

4 - First Room

5 - Second Room

6 - Third Room

7 - Fourth Room

8 - Locked Door

You'll have to pick a "master" lock to pass through this door.

9 - Book

On the table here you'll find the book Proper Lock Design, which will increase your Lockpicking skill by 1.

10 - Pit / Anders' Skeleton / Ebonmere

  1. Doorway between the Twilight Sepulcher and the Inner Sanctum.
  2. Portal between the Twilight Sepulcher and the Inner Sanctum. This portal will only appear after you've returned the Skeleton Key, and it will block your access to the Pilgrim's Path (#3).
  3. World exit.




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