Thieves Guild Quest: Hard Answers

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You'll receive this quest immediately after completing the quest Speaking with Silence.


To start off in this quest, you'll need to show Gallus's Encoded Journal to Enthir at the Frozen Hearth tavern in Winterhold (he might also be in the Hall of Attainment in the College of Winterhold). After looking at the journal, Enthir will tell you that it's written in the Falmer language, and that you'll need to speak to Calcelmo, the court wizard of Markarth, to learn how to translate it.

You'll find Calcelmo in the southern part of Understone Keep in Markarth. When you ask him about his research on the Falmer language, he'll admit that he's about to publish a book on the subject, but he won't want to share any information with you. At best he'll give you a Dwemer Museum Key (which is useful because the museum is connected to Calcelmo's lab, where his research is). There are a few ways to get the key from Calcelmo:
  • You can successfully bribe, intimidate or persuade him (this appears to be tough to do).

  • If you've completed Calcelmo's part in the quest The Book of Love, then you can remind him that you've helped him.

  • You can kill the spider Nimhe for him in the Nchuand-Zel Excavation Site. This is probably the best option, because in the chamber with Nimhe you'll find Alethius' corpse, and looting it will trigger the quest The Lost Expedition.

  • You can steal the key from Calcelmo's inventory, or from the table near the alchemy lab where he works. You can also pick the lock on the museum door. However, if you enter the museum without permission, then the guards inside will be hostile towards you.
Inside the Dwemer Museum, you'll find a bunch of display cases that you can pick open to improve your Lockpicking skill. You'll also encounter three Markarth city guards, but they'll only be hostile to you if you entered the museum without permission. You'll find the doorway to Calcelmo's Laboratory on the western side of the museum (Exit B).

Inside Calcelmo's Laboratory, you'll encounter several guards (#2, #5, #8, #9, #10) plus Calcelmo's nephew Aicantar (#10), and they'll be hostile towards you no matter how you gained access to the lab. You should be able to sneak past these enemies or use the laboratory's numerous traps to defeat them, or you can just kill them.

Inside Calcelmo's Tower (reached via the balcony at Exit C), you'll find Calcelmo's translation stone on a ledge near the entrance (#12). To copy it, you'll need to make a rubbing, which will require you to pick up a Roll of Paper and some Charcoal (which you'll find nearby at #11). However, once you've made Calcelmo's Stone Rubbing, Captain Aquilius, Aicantar (if he's still alive), and some guards will enter the tower and rush up to the stone. If you want to, you can just wait a few seconds, and then jump down off the ledge and head for the exit, and thus avoid the fight.

When you return to Enthir, you'll find him in the cellar of the Frozen Hearth tavern in Winterhold. He'll have Karliah with him. When you hand him Calcelmo's Stone Rubbing, he'll use it to decode Gallus's Encoded Journal, and he'll reveal that Gallus suspected Frey before his death, and that Frey apparently desecrated something called the Twilight Sepulcher. Frey will then offer to purchase "items of questionable interest" from you, which means you'll now be able to use him as a fence.

When you ask Karliah about the Twilight Sepulcher, she'll tell you that it's a temple to Nocturnal, and that it's what Nightingales are supposed to protect, but she won't go into any great detail. However, she will give you Gallus' Nightingale Blade as your reward for helping her out. The Nightingale Blade is a leveled item. You'll get the best version of it if you're at least level 46.

1 - Unusual Gem / Stone of Barenziah

You'll need the gem for the quest No Stone Unturned.

2 - Guard

A guard will patrol back and forth in this room. If you don't want to attack him straight up, then you can use Aicantar's Spider (#3) to damage and distract him, or cast a fire spell when he's on the pool of oil in the room, or use the valve in the room to trigger a poison dart trap when he's in the target area (he won't notice the damage). You can also potentially hit him with the two traps (controlled by more valves) in the next room.

3 - Aicantar's Spider

Aicantar's Spider will show up when you take the Spider Control Rod from the table here. The spider will defend you from anybody who attacks you (like the nearby guard at #2), but it isn't strong enough to defeat anybody.

4 - Barred Door

This door will start out barred, and you'll only be able to open it from the southern side. It's also possible that one of the guards (#10) will open it.

5 - Two Guards

Two guards will patrol in a circle in this room. You'll either need to sneak past them or kill them.

6 - Calcelmo's Bedroom

On the nightstand in this room you'll find Calcelmo's Laboratory Key.

7 - Locked Door

To open this door you'll need to pick up Calcelmo's Laboratory Key (from one of the wizards' guards at #2 and #5, or from Calcelmo's bedroom at #6), or you'll need to pick the lock. It's also possible a guard will open the door if the two guards in the room (#5) call for help.

8 - Two Guards (Upper Level) / Poisonous Gas (Lower Level)

Two guards will patrol back and forth in this hallway. If you pass through the poisonous gas beneath them (by heading west and then down), then you'll find a valve at the other end of the hallway that will turn on a blade trap and kill them.

Note: Pressure plates in the poison gas hallway will turn off the poison while you're standing on them. So you can use the pressure plates to loot the bodies you'll find down there, and to heal up if necessary.

9 - Two Guards

One of the two guards will stay seated at a table. The other will patrol back and forth. You'll either need to sneak past them or kill them.

10 - Aicantar and Guard

You'll encounter Aicantar and a guard in this room. Just to the right of the doorway, a valve will set off a multitude of traps in the room, causing the pair to die or flee. Also in the room you'll find the book Twin Secrets (on a table), which will increase your Enchanting skill by 1, and a Dwemer Puzzle Cube (on a different table), which you'll be able to sell to Delvin at the Ragged Flagon for some gold.

11 - Work Room

On the desk in this room you'll find the book Chimarvamidium, which will increase your Heavy Armor skill by 1. You'll also find a bunch of Charcoal and Rolls of Paper in the room.

12 - Calcelmo's Stone (On Ledge)

  1. Entrance to the Dwemer Museum.
  2. Doorway between the Dwemer Museum and Calcelmo's Laboratory.
  3. Balcony between Calcelmo's Laboratory and Calcelmo's Tower.




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