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When you return to the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood, Delphine will lead you to the secret room in the basement, and she'll reveal her plan. She'll tell you that thalmor ambassador Elenwen regularly throws parties at the thalmor embassy, and that it should be easy enough to get you inside so you can sneak around and search through the Elenwen's files. Delphine will then direct you to meet with a man named Malborn, her contact within the embassy.
You'll find Malborn sitting at a table inside the Winking Skeever in Solitude. When you talk to him there, he'll tell you that he can smuggle some items into the embassy for you, and then the transaction interface will open up. You should give Malborn any items you consider to be important -- your weapon, your armor, healing potions, and
. These are the only items you'll have available to you once you've entered the embassy. But you should show some restraint. You'll find lots of elven / glass items inside the embassy, and you'll only have one shot at picking them all up, so you should leave as much carry weight available as you can.
After talking to Malborn, when you travel to Katla's Farm (aka the Solitude Stables), you'll find Delphine sitting next to the mill there. She'll give you
, and an
Invitation to Elenwen's Reception
. After putting on the disguise, when you talk to Delphine again, she'll collect all of your equipment that you didn't give to Malborn (minus your quest items), and she'll help you into a carriage, which will take you to the embassy.
Outside the embassy, you'll meet a fellow partygoer named Razelan, who will talk nonstop about drinking. Then to enter the embassy, you'll need to walk towards the front entrance (Exit A) and show your invitation to the guard who stops you. Razelan will enter the embassy at the same time you do.
Inside the embassy, you'll be greeted by Elenwen, but before she can dig too deeply about who you are and why you're at the party, Malborn will interrupt her, and she'll get distracted. You'll then need to talk to Malborn, who you'll find tending the bar (#2). He'll tell you that you'll need to cause a distraction so he can sneak you through the door behind the bar (#3) without anybody noticing.
There are various ways to cause a distraction, depending on what you've done (and who you've met) earlier in the game. But one guaranteed way is to accept a glass of
from Brelas the serving girl and then give it to Razelan. Razelan will be impressed by your generosity, and when you ask him to cause a scene, he'll immediately stand up and start giving a rambling toast to Elenwen. During this time you'll need to head over to Malborn behind the bar (#3), who will guide you through the kitchen into the larder, where you'll find your equipment (#4).
When you exit the kitchen (via #5), Malborn will lock the door behind you, and you'll be on your own. You'll then need to sneak or fight your way to Elenwen's Solar (via Exits B and C). It won't make any difference what you do (or don't do) to the thalmor soldiers, but if you decide to fight them then you'll find a ton of elven and possibly glass gear on their corpses, and you'll be able to sell it all later for a tidy profit.
Inside Elenwen's Solar you'll find a chest (#6) containing
Dragon Investigation: Current Status
Thalmor Dossier: Delphine
Thalmor Dossier: Ulfric Stormcloak
, and the
Interrogation Chamber Key
. If you read the documents, then you'll discover that the thalmor don't know anything more about the dragon attacks than you and Delphine do. Meanwhile, the
Interrogation Chamber Key
will unlock the doors to the Dungeon (Exit D).
Beneath the solar in the Dungeon you'll find another chest (#7), and this one will have
Thalmor Dossier: Esbern
inside. You'll also discover a prisoner named Etienne Rarnis being tortured by a soldier (#8). When you read the dossier or talk to the prisoner, you'll complete the "search for information" objective, but at the same time two more soldiers will enter the Dungeon, and they'll have Malborn with them, and so clearly they'll have figured out that something is wrong.
All you'll need to do at this point is escape the embassy. Rescuing Malborn and the prisoner is optional. However, you won't be able to return the way you came. Instead, you'll have to go through a trap door (Exit E) to enter the Reeking Cave. The
Trap Door Key
is required to open this exit. You'll find it on the two soldiers with Malborn.
When you exit the Reeking Cave, you'll find yourself outside the Embassy (Exit F). To complete the quest, you'll then just need to return to Delphine back in the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood. Delphine will be interested to hear your news about the thalmor, especially that they're searching for Esbern, but that will be the subject of your next quest. You'll find your remaining gear in the chest in the basement.
1 - Barracks
You won't be able to enter the barracks during the quest, but afterwards you'll find it only has a "novice" lock, and inside you'll be able to loot some chests without it being considered stealing.
2 - Malborn
3 - Bar Door
4 - Your Equipment
5 - Kitchen Door
6 - Chest
7 - Chest
8 - Prisoner
- Front entrance to the embassy.
- Doorway between the embassy and the inner courtyard.
- Doorway between Elenwen's Solar and the inner courtyard.
- Doorway between Elenwen's Solar and the Dungeon.
- Reeking Cave entrance.
- Reeking Cave exit.