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You'll receive this quest from Delvin in the Ragged Flagon after completing five random quests (from Delvin or Vex) in Solitude.
Delvin will direct you to a "wealthy merchant" named Erikur living in Solitude. You'll either find him in his house (during the night) or in the Blue Palace (during the day). When you talk to him, he'll tell you that Captain Volf of the Dainty Sload broke a trade agreement with him, and to get even, he wants you to plant some (very illegal)
inside the Captain's Chest on board the ship. He'll add that you can obtain
from Sabine Nyette on board the Red Wave.
You'll find the Red Wave docked to the south of Solitude, near the East Empire Company Warehouse. When you talk to Sabine there, she'll offer you some
for 1500 gold. If you accept this deal, then Sabine will give you
Sabine's Footlocker Key
, which will unlock Sabine's Footlocker, which is located underneath the dock leading to the Red Wave. Inside the footlocker you'll find the
. If you don't want to pay Sabine, then you can just jump into the water and pick the "expert" lock on the footlocker, or pickpocket the key from Sabine, and get the
You'll find the Dainty Sload docked to the east of Solitude, near the Solitude Lighthouse. Several corsairs will be on board the ship, both inside and out, and you can either kill them or sneak past them, and it won't make any difference. You'll find the Captain's Chest on the lower level of the ship, guarded by the First Mate. To open the chest, you'll either need to pick its "adept" lock or pickpocket the
Dainty Sload Footlocker Key
from the First Mate. Once the chest is open, all you'll need to do is place the
Note: You'll also find an
Stone of Barenziah
(needed for the quest No Stone Unturned) and the book
A Dance in Fire, v6
(which will increase your Speech skill by 1) on the table where the First Mate is sitting.
After planting the
, when you return to Erikur, he'll reward you with a random spell tome, and he'll offer to reopen the doors of Solitude to the Thieves Guild. Completing the quest will also cause a new merchant to appear in the Ragged Flagon, and Tonilia (in the Ragged Flagon) will start out with more gold each time her stock resets.