The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Walkthrough

Stop right there criminal scum. Our The Elders Scrolls V Skyrim Walkthrough provides strategies for the main quest, crafting tips, and secrets about guilds.

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This Walkthrough is under construction: Skyrim is a huge world, far too much for one lone person to cover in a short amount of time. If you've found something we've missed or have a tip of your own place a comment for @yarvem or Twitter @KurtisSeid.

What's New:

  • February 13 2011: It's been some time but we are going back and checking out the Thieves Guild.
  • February 10 2011: Xbox 360 Achievements and PlayStation 3 Trophies have been added to the guide.
  • November 21 2011: Version 1.2. More Daedric quests and crafting tips.
  • November 15 2011: Version 1.1. We've updated the first few quests about the Civil War in Skyrim, Companions, Dark Brotherhood, Mage's College, and Daedric Gods.
  • November 11 2011: Version 1.0 of the The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Walkthrough is here. We are starting our walkthrough with the main storyline begging to end, but will continue to update with all major guilds and the war in Skyrim. Check back later for more info.

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Unbound

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First you'll need to make a character. What kind of hero do you want? Each race has different base skills and a special power, but with enough hard work you can master most anything.

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Redguards, Nords, and Orcs have an advantage in close range combat. Redguards specialize in one-handed, Nords Two-handed, and Orcs in Heavy Armor. There are rogue type races: Argonians have lockpicking, Khajiit sneaking and Wood Elf Archery. For slight magical advantages Imperials have Restoration, High Elves have Illusion, Half Elves Conjuration, and Dark Elves Destruction.

We picked a hearty Orc melee-caster and while we mainly used close range combat, we mixed up some other skills that will hopefully assist any build.

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When you first gain free control of your movement you'll just be following NPCs: first a Stormcloak soldier that will teach you the basics of running and jumping. Second will be Hadvar who will brief you on the basics of combat. The latter will release your prisoner bindings and take you into a small armory. Search both chests in the room to uncover some Imperial Light Armor and a one-handed Iron Sword. Don't worry if you want to specialize in magic or two-handed weapons. You'll get those soon enough; in fact if you go into your magic menu you'll always have simple flame and healing spells you can wield.

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After Hadvar opens the gate you'll fight against two rather simple Stormcloak soldiers. Strategy is rather minimal here. Block their attacks and countering with a normal blow will work fine. If they do guard use a power attack to stagger them. Take out the one with a two-handed sword first and stronger damage dealers always pose a greater threat. If you are going to play as a two handed-character it's a good idea to loot his sword.

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Keep following Hadvar and he'll lead you to another encounter two more easy Stormcloak soldiers. After killing these enemies, be sure to grab any spare potions from the nearby barrels. When ready, move on and you'll come to a battle between the Legion Torturers and two more Stormcloak Soldiers. In most cases your allies will deal with the enemies before you get a chance to attack. You'll want to read the books laying around the tables and many published novels will raise your skill points. Additionally search the nearby sack to gain a few lockpicks.

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If you're going the mage or rouge build you'll want to open up the cage on the left. The lockpicking mechanics are the same as in Fallout 3: You'll need to adjust the lockpick into a certain position before moving the lock with your dagger. If you get some resistance (and vibrations on consoles) stop turning your knife and readjust the lockpick's placement. Inside the cage are a few gold coins, a poition of Minor Magika, a Tome of Sparks (Destruction) and a dead mage. Loot his corpse if you want to look the part of a caster.

Even though there aren't any other actual good treasure behind any of the other cells and caged doors, if you want to boost your lockpick skill take the time to unlock any cage you find. Either way talk to the younger Torturer Assistant and he will follow you shortly as well. Despite how intimidating he looks, this fellow will die rather quickly, so not need to get attached. Head down the next hall for a fight with four more Stormcloaks. Two are below in the water, while the other two are above on the bridges. Split up from where ever Hadvar goes and clear out the enemies. You might notice some multicolored goo on the floor. This is highly flamable, so if you use your flame magic you can start a blaze. Be careful with this strategy, as this fire can harm anyone including allies.

Once the Stormcloaks are dead, continue down the path to encounter three small and two large Frostbite Spiders. They can easily poison you, so it's a good idea to have your healing spell or some healing potions handy. Another good alterative is to let Hadvar go in sword swinging. This will give you enough leeway to attack the enemies from behind.

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Continue to the left and you'll find a sleeping bear. Hadvar will now hand you a bow and a few amount of arrows. You should now crouch into a sneaking position to keep from being detected. It's up to you if you want to sneak by or snipe down the bear. If you go for the latter, let Hadvar get into melee range and tank the bear. With his health and strong sword the bear isn't much of a problem.

Continue further and you'll find the exit. If you were unhappy with your racial choice or ability scores you'll have one last tiem to change your character and appearance. Congratulations on escape the Vault…er Helgen.

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Before the Storm

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Hadvar will suggest traveling to Riverwood and meeting his uncle Alvor. If you're going to continue the storyline, this will be your next destination. However, if you really want you can simply leave this for later and explore the rest of Skyrim. Going to Riverwood is a good idea either way as you can learn more about the Legion and gain your first companion. Head down the hill and follow the path to eventually get to the small town.

The encounters on the way to Riverwood are random. You might see nothing or may have to fight your way there. For the most part you'll only face basic wolves. For a melee character they shouldn't be much a problem. Still, if you want you can run back to Hadvar and have him deal with whatever enemies you come across. Still, it's much better to deal with enemies yourself as it will grant quick skill ups in both your offensive and defensive abilities.

In Riverwood, Alvor's house will be the first on the left. Talk to the smith as he sits down for dinner or works his forge. Ask for supplies you can take and you can further inform him about what happened in Helgan. Pick this dialogue option to learn about Whiterun and Jarl Balgruuf. Whiel the storyline tells you to go here. It's worth it to further explore Riverwood to gain a follower and take care of a later task.

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You can choose to recruit either Sven or Faendal. Either option is fine as they are both mainly archers with a daggers to back them up. We went with Faendal, but Sven works just as well; additionally Faendal can improve your archery skills if you pay him. They are both pining for the affections of Camilla Valerius and will each ask you to deliver a fake nasty letter to Camilla. Take the letter to Camilla who will either be walking around town or inside her brother's shop. Give the letter and lie about who penned the vulgar note. Return back to the real author and they will join you as a follower. Don't worry about outfitting them just yet, as you probably don't have enough equipment to use yourself. Besides, you'll be gaining plenty of armor very soon.

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Since you may have just been in Valerius's shop, talk to the elder brother Lucan to learn about a missing golden claw. You can leave this job for later, but it's worth it to complete it now. Lucan will point you towards Bleak Falls Barrow which will now be placed on your map. If you want, talk to Camilla again and she will lead you out of town and point you towards the barrows. Head out of Riverwood and head out to recover the Golden Claw.

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The Golden Claw

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Head up the mountain to the north to gain access to Bleak Falls Barrow. The encounters along the way are random, but you can expect to fight a bandit or two, especially ones that could be hiding in the towers up towards the Barrow. At this point it's a good idea to have your healing spell in your left hand or at least ready to switch to by favoriting it. And of course Faendal sniping your enemies will help loads early on. It takes a lot of a follower to outright die, so feel free to let your sidekick take all the punishment. We were lucky enough to gain a suit of Iron Heavy Armor and a new greatsword (Which we handed to Faendal); even with some randomness it's likely that you'll gain the same equipment to outfit yourself and your comrade.

Eventually you'll reach Bleak Falls Barrow proper. Here will be three more bandits, likely with two-handed axes or ranged bows. If you haven't used on yet it's a good idea to whip out your shield. Shields are great for absorbing damage and staggering enemies. A successful block will stagger an normal attack. However if the enemy uses a power attack it will break your guards. This also holds true for when you fight a defending enemy. You can also block with a two-handed weapon or while dual-wielding, but isn't nearly effective as a shield.

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You'll likely still be level 1, so most of the enemies will still be weak. A few swings of your weapon and shots from your follower will be enough to clear most encounters inside and around the Barrow. With that said, after clearing out the three enemies, enter the door on the right to enter inside the Barrow. There will be two bandits within the first room. You have enough time to sneak and get in a free hit or two. However, unless you made a Khajiit or already trained before entering your sneaking may be too low to get by these guards.

The loot on the bandits isn't anything great, but the nearby chest has some goodies inside. It has a novice lock on it, but you should hopefully still have plenty of lockpicks from Helgan to easily bust it open. Inside the chest is some gold, souls gems, and a Scroll of Hysteria. We personally never use scrolls as they are one time use. But what's great is you can sell scrolls to other casters for a nice sum of gold.

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Continue down the path and you may notice various urns and pots sitting around. Most of these are empty, so however your crosshairs over them before needlessly interacting with them. There are a few poitions sitting around the bookshelves, so be sure to grab them. Once you've looted anythign you need, head down the hall and Kill the Bandit Outlaw. There will be a puzzle ahead and the answer is on the pillars overhead. Or rather was up there, the middle symbol has collapsed on the ground. However, since it's the only one dislodged it's still easy to figure out. Mover over to the pillars on the left and rotate them so that from left to right they show a snake, a snake, and last a fish.

This will open a gate leading to the basement. As you enter through there will be more petty soul gems and chest to loot. However, expect to be interrupted as Skeevers will emerge from below. These are large rats and are easily killed. For the real battle head down the spiral stair case and slash through the webbing on the left. This will reveal the Wounded Frostbite Spider. It's a large version of spiders you might have already fought. Its poison is even more deadly, making it very important to have a healing spell on the ready.

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The easiest way to heal up is to simply run back out the entrance as the spider is too big to follow you. Faendal or whatever companion you have will also make this battle rather simple. After the spider is dead, move left to find Arvel stuck in some webs. Free from the webbing and continue to slice him to bits. He's the one with the Golden Claw and would simply flee or attack you than hand over the treasure. It simply saves time to bash his skull in and loot the warm corpse. Continue down the path and you'll face undead Draugrs. These enemies are susceptible to fire if you feel like switching to Destruction magic, but aren't that hard anyway.

You should be careful about traps in the area, there is a spike gate just ahead that will spring is you step on the pressure point. Traps like these will do serious damage if they hit you in the heat of combat. If you've already killed the enemy, you can likely heal the damage quickly before moving on. You'll face three more Draugrs. They have basic armors and weapons so there still isn't much to worry about. Their Ancient Nord weapons aren't that great so there isn't much reason to loot them unless you simply want some different gear. Up ahead will be a swinging set of blades. Remember back to Helgan where you sprinted out? If you haven't been using sprinting, now is a good time to start again. The sprint is fast enough to get by traps like that.

Head down the next few halls and slice through three more Draugr. At the end of this hall will be a chest that will possibly contain more stamina potions and arrows. Pull the chain near the chest and it will open the gate headed towards outside. There will be two more chests: one to the right as you exit that might have another sellable scroll and possibly leather armor. Kill another Draugr and head down the icy path on the east to reach the second chest. This chest has a novice lock and may contain a Scroll of Dread Zombie and a Weak Paralysis Poison. Once done looting, head back up the ice spiral and into the next cave to the north.

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Here will be a Restless Draugr, a stronger version of the undead you've faced so far. It's a good idea to have both a shield and healing spell on the ready. The Restless has way more health and his two-handed sword can do some heavy damage. Block his blows as best as you can and heal up when you take too much damage. Your follower may be the main source of damage from this fight as you keep yourself healthy. Through the next door will be two more Draugr: one melee one at the bottom floor and an archer above. This are the normal Draugr, so they are fairly weak. Climb up the stairs on the right and loop around left until you come to the bridge. Soon you'll come to a door with a clawshaped keyhole and several rings. Look at the claw in your inventory and it will show you the code: Bear, Butterfly, Owl. Set up this combo and place the claw in to unlock the door.

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Move down the path and you'll arrive at a tomb. On the wall will be a flashing dragon word that will teach the first shout: Unrelenting Force. You most likely can't use this yet. Though if you took the time to kill a dragon you can learn and equip the shout. Learning the word of power for the shout will also revive a Draugr. This enemy is even stronger than the Restless you fought earlier. His attacks are strong enough that you might want to switch to a ranged spell or a bow. If your follower has a brutal two handed weapon and some armor they might be able to take the boss a little better than yourself. As long as you have some distance and make use of your shield you can resist the brunt of the damage and easily counter.

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Loot the Overlord to gain the Dragonstone (Which was the real prize here) and you can also take his Cold Ancient Nord Battle Axe which can deal extra frost damage to health and stamina. Loot the area for a petty soul gem, Weak Frenzy Poison, a Tome of Conjure Familiar and up to eighty gold. Head up the stairs on the left to unlock the exit. Stop along the way to loot another chest with a Garnet, extra gold and lockpicks. Now you're free to return to Skyrim's overworld and can fast travel to River wood.

Deliver the Golden Claw to Lucan and receive your reward. With the Dragonstone in hand, you'll be more then ready for Whiterun.

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Dragon Rising

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Travel to Whiterun, which is northwest of Riverwood. Apparently the guards are charging for entrance, so you can either pay, talk your way in, or can state you're there to see the Jarl. The middle options are good if you want to practice your speech skills. Once inside, head to the main keep, Dragonreach. Talk to the Jarl and state what happened in Helgan. He will instruct you to meet with the court wizard Farengar. The court wizard will ask you to gain the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow. What luck, we already did that quest (and hope you did as well, but if not you can check for details in the Golden Claw section). Give the Dragonstone to Farengar and you'll get word that a dragon is attacking the Western Watch Tower.

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Head outside and follow Irileth towards the tower. This is your first dragon fight and at this level it can be tough. You have enough aid from the Whiterun guards and any follower that this isn't flat out impossible. You'll notice that the dragon mainly flies, so that means it's time to resort to magic and archery. This is much easier to do if you get to the top of the tower and have a better vantage point. The amount of arrows pelting the dragon will eventually ground it. At about the 50% health mark it will stop flying, taking this back to a ground battle. If you're hearty melee character like our Orc, you can go in close and bash it. It's easier to attack from behind as it will have to turn or move about if it wants to use it's deadly bite. You aren't completely safe while attacking it's rear though. The dragon can actively flail its tail as it bites one of your allies. Always be ready to switch to a healing spell and run away if you are taking too much damage. The Whiterun guards will help keep the dragon distracted long enough.

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Soon enough the dragon will meet its end and you can absorb its essence. You can combine the word of power from the Barrows and the dragon soul to fully learn Unrelenting Force. Show off your shout to the Whiterun guards and they will declare you Dragon born. Return to Jarl Balgruuf and report what happened. You'll hear a call from the Greybeards, meaning it's time to head to High Hrothgar. Before leaving, you can also recruit Lydia as a new follower, though you'll need to dump anyone you're already partnered with.

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The Way of the Voice

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High Hrothgar is at the top of the huge mountain to the south, just east of Riverwood. This rock is massive, and most of the terrain is too inhospitable to climb. However, there is an easy clear path on the outskirts of Ivarstead. This small village is on the south eastern side of the mountain. You'll need to come here if you want reach the top of High Hrothgar. The pilgrimage up these steps in long and many random encounters can occur. If your lucky only wolves may attack. In some cases you might face a stronger tiger, which is still manageable with your follower. The worst situation is if you face a random Frost Troll. This enemy is very powerful at this point and has fast regenerating health. Fire is your best option here, but that's still being generous. If your level is too low, you can drag the troll all the way back to Ivarstead and let the guards kill it for you.

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The Frost Trolls don't scale with you, so if you come back at a higher level they will be much easier. Overall their AI is really clumsy and you can get them stuck on walls or have them simply leap off the cliff as they pursue you. Either way, once clearing a path through whatever enemies you encounter you'll be at the top of High Hrothgar. Inside the sacks at the base of the stairs are mainly vegetables and a few potions, including cure poison. Regardless if you pick up the offers, enter inside of High Hrothgar.

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Inside the Greybeards will help you master your Unrelenting Force. Listen to the instructions they give and follow suit. You'll mainly be pushing around spirits that the Grebeards summon to the center of the room. Next the Greybeards will take you outside and teach you the Whirlwind Shout. This is a quick dash, even faster than your sprint. Use it to get passed traps and other obstacles. Talk to the Greybeards again and they will instruct you to recover the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. It is located in Ustengrav, far north near Solitude.

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The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller

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If you've only walked so far, it's a long trek northwest to reach Jurgen's tomb in Ustengrav. You can possible find a wagon and hitch a ride to Solitude, but even if you do it might cost you a bit of gold. Either way you'll eventually make it to the tomb by traveling the wilderness or paved roads. The dead bandit here might some extra lockpicks that can come in handy later. The barrels mostly just have vegetables and flowers, mainly only good if you want more crafting/cooking materials. For now, just enter Ustengrav.

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Inside are three Necromancers and two bandits. The mages only have robes, so they are easily to plow with melee attacks. However, they have good range with their spells, so you'll need to use sprinting or whirlwind sprint to get in close. There ice spells are probably the worst and they can slow down your movement, turning a sprint into a crawl. Be on the ready to quickly heal while your follower distracts the necromancers. The bandits aren't anything new, but can be a nuisance while you concentrate on the casters. If you want sneak a little and try to get a jump on at least one enemy.

Once the baddies are cleared, head down the tunnel on the left to enter a three way battle between more mages, undead Draugr, and yourself. The Draugr are a little tougher than the casters, so beat on them while the mages cause distractions. The undead even have a few casters of their own, making it very important to kill any that start to use ice or shock spells.

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Continue down the path and sneak into the nooks on the left. Inside the chests, urns, and desk are healing potions, stamina potions, flawless garnets, Aversion to Frost, and a hide shield of Dwindling Shock-this can block up to 40% of shock damage. Once gaining the treasure, continue down the hall to fight another three undead: one ice caster and two more melee enemies. Sneaking can certainly help if it's high enough, but if you do get spotted go for any magic caster first. With them dead, head up the steps northeast and arrive on the second floor.

There will be a chest on the right containing more potions. Continue to the left across the bridge and descend into the depths of Ustengrav. The depths are much more open than the above floor, but there are still tight corridors. There will be a fire floor trap ahead, which can be crossed with use of sprinting or whirlwind sprint. Your follower isn't nearly as fast, so expect them to take some damage. Another few Draugrs will stand in your way, but it's mostly more of the same. Kill them and descend down to lower floor. Explore the small rooms around here to collect even more healing potions. Now move south and you'll find two leavers that will open a gate leading to a chest. Before you can collect the loot though, more enemies will revive.

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Kill the undead and return back to the gate. Inside you can grab a Dwarven bow and and Arcane Enchanter that you can use to boost or degrade various weapons you've collected. Once done in here, head west and then north to reach another open area. There are several undead Skeleton archers here, meaning you should switch to a bow or spell. If you have some kind of turn undead spell or weapon you can switch to those as well. If you want to deal with the enemies directly, take the stairs on the far west side. You can also use this to drop down on the enemies below. Once the enemies are dead, head across the bridge to the east.

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There will be three runes on the ground here. Before using these, take the stairs on right and kill the skeleton archer above. You can also grab a few potions and jewels inside the urns around here. Head back down and touch all of the stones and quickly whirlwind sprint through the opened gates. You'll come to another fire trap floor, but this time it also contains frostbite spiders. Because of this your normal dash is more practical, allowing you stop and kill the spiders. Still, try to move as much as possible to avoid being scorched.

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In the next area you'll finally make it to your bounty the Horn of Jurge…hey there is no horn here! There is only a note asking you to rent a room at the Inn in Riverwood. Head through the door on the east to find a staff of familiar, scroll of Mayhem, a steel mace, and plenty of gold. Head out the left to find the exit. Now it's time to get back to Riverwood.

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A Blade in the Dark

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Head to the Sleeping Giant Inn within Riverwood and request to stay in the attic room. Turns out there isn't an attic room, but sleep in the room you get anyway. Delphine will wake you in the morning and inform you of why she left the letter. She also has the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller and will hand it to you. It's now time to track down another dragon, this one is located in town of Kynesgrove in the far east.

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This means quite a bit of walking from place in Riverwood. It's good to travel this great distance as the eastern route passed the Valtheim Towers can lead to some great treasure. Along the various riverside shrines, people will leave down pieces of armor. During our pilgrimage to Kynesgrove we recovered a few pieces of Steel Plate armor, great for any warrior or paladin build. Still be careful of random encounters such as saber toothed cats and bears. Your best shield and heavy armor are always a good means of defending yourself during these unexpected fights.

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Anyway, you'll reach Kynesgrove and will have to do battle with another dragon Sahloknir. Delphine will be on your side, along with whatever follower you have. This fight is nearly the same as your dragon fight near Whiterun. You might have less help, but Delphine is tough enough to make the fight easy. As before, attack from behind when you can. We also liked making use of whirlwind sprint, to get close to Sahloknir whenever he lands.

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Once the dragon is dead, head back to Riverwood and talk to Delphine. If you fast traveled she might not be back yet as she manually walks the entire way back from Kynesgrove. If she's not there just wait. A whole day should be enough. But if not check your map and see where the quest marker points to get an idea of where Delphine could be. Once talking to the Blade, it's time to head to the Thalmor Embassy in Solitude.

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Diplomatic Immunity

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Solitude is far off to the northwest. You can get there pretty easily by fast traveling to Ustengrav. Inside Solitude, head over to the Winking Skeever and talk to Malborn. He'll smuggle in equipment into the party, so give him whatever you normally use. Don't worry, he's not just bluffing and will actually bring the gear back. After meeting with the contact, exit outside and Delphine. Change into the clothes she gives you and talk the wagon to the party.

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Once the wagon arrives, give the letter to the guard to get inside. After chatting for a second with Ambassador Elenwen, talk to Razelan sitting on the bench. Turns out he needs a drink and you need a distraction. Head over to one of the waitresses and grab a drink. Take this over to Razelan and ask him to make a scene. With the party distracted, move over and speak with Malborn at the bar. He'll lead you passed the kitchen and give you your gear. Hopefully you brought in whatever you normally need. Now it's time to get sneaking…if you have the skills anyway. Any bulky armor will easily give away your position. Your best bet is to wait until the guards are done conversing and move to their own stations.

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Just in case, make sure both healing spells and items are readily available. The guards mainly use fire magic, making fire resist a must on your shield or amulet. All of the enemies are elf casters or melee-casters. If you're a spellslinger yourself, be aware that the elves will often switch from fire to shock which can drain your magika quickly. Be sure to have some time of melee weapon backed up in case you can't cast anymore. If you use light armor, steal a set of elven armor from the guards. Despite it looking like plate, elf magic has actually made it rather light weight.

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Once getting passed (or more likely killing) the guards, head up to the second floor. The loot in these rooms isn't anything to write home about, so either pinch a few coins or just continue outside through the northern door. There will be two more light armored guards that may use bows or magic swords. There is also a Thalmor Wizard that can switch among ice and lighting. This caster is much worse, so take him out first. Once the enemies are dead, head through the door in the courtyard to enter the inner embassy. You'll have to two more guards, another mage, and some random drunk named Gissur. Due to the sheer number of enemies and their constant magic spam, have quick potions read at all times.

When the area is clear, search the shleves for frostbite venom and potions of haggling. Head into the small room in the northwest and loot the chest. You'll find the quest items Dragon Investigation and Interrogation Chamber Key. You can also pick up Dossiers on Delphine and Ulfric if you want some interesting reading. Head down the stairs on the north and use the key to get inside. There will be another elf guard and down below a lightning caster named Rulindil. The soldier isn't anything new, and even though Rulindil has more health, he can be taken down by rushing him with whirl sprint and hitting him with melee attacks. Switch your shield or other resist items if you need protection from the elements he switches to. When the mage is dead, loot him for some Poison potions, a spell tome of Conjure Flame Atronach, and a ring of minor Destruction among other less helpful items.

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Open up the chest to the north to gain the Dossier on Esbern. Now just to the left will be a cage holding Etienne Rarnis. Talk to him and find out what he knows. More guards will appear along with Malborn. It's too late for your alley and he'll quickly be dead. However, the guards have the key to the exit, so get ready to fight two more spellswords. At level 10-11 they won't be much of a problem to a good mace thrashing. Still be sure to have good fire protection and healing spells handy. After getting the ket, return to Etienne and move towards the exit. If you're unlucky you may encounter a Frost Troll in the small cave leading out. There is an enough space to simply run by though, as even at this point a troll's health regeneration is a pain to deal with. Get to the hole ahead and re-meet with Delphine. Your next assignment is located in Riften.

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A Cornered Rat

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Riften is in the far southeast. Due to its great distance it's probably best to find a wagon and pay the fee to get there quickly. Your goal is to find Esbern, but you only have one lead: a man named Brynjolf. This character can be found outside in the market during the day, and most likely in the tavern at night. Speak to him and he'll inform you about the thieves guild hideout under Riften. It seems the guild is protecting Esbern for now and you'll need to travel to the underground Ratway Warrens.

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Inside, expect to be attacked by two named brutes Hewnon Black-Skeever and Drahff. One uses an axe and shield while other is an archer. Despite being named NPCs they die quickly like any other thug. They may also have a bit more gold and jewels to loot than normal bandits. There are alternate routes, but as they all require very high lock picking, from here head southwest and you'll locate a booby trapped door. Stand back a few inches and open the door to avoid being stabbed. Once through the door continue south and fight through a few weak Skeever and Gian the Fist; as his name implies he's unarmed so not much of a problem. After the fight there will be an alchemy lab to the east if you want to mix some more potions, otherwise keep following the objective marker southeast. Kill the weak Lowlife in the next room and head north to lower the exit draw bridge--you won't be taking this escape just yet, but it will save time later on. Backtrack east and you'll come into the Ragged Flagon.

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For future reference, the Ragged Flagon is the thieves guild hideout and we will cover it in later sections. For now head over to the Flagon bar and talk to Vekel the Man. Ask him about Esbern but he isn't very willing. If your speech is high enough you can persuade him, but there is also the option of paying for info or brawling fist-vs-fist. If you've been going one handed brawling Vekel is the easiest and cheapest option. After the fight head east into the deeper Ratway Warrens.

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Get ready to face a lighting Thalmor Wizard, and two Thalmor Soldiers. They fight exactly like the ones you encountered in Solitude, so use the same tactics. However, it also helps to make sure you follower has a good bow. With this you can drop down below and pummel the soldiers while your follower snipes from the higher ground; alternately you can be the sniper, but the follower's AI is poor enough that they probablly won't drop down to the lower floor.

Once the enemies are dead, head south and you'll come to two chests: one with gold and lockpicks and the other closed tight with an apprentice level lock. We only found gold inside, but it still might be worth opening to train up your lockpicking skills. Return back to the main dungeon room and journey south to the next floor of the warrens. Pick the next lock on the left to get into the main holding cells. You may be attacked by either Hefid the Deaf or Knjakr if you get to close to them, but they are too poorly equipped to be a threat. On the the hand Salvianus is completely passive: you can outright steal his belongs and he won't even try and defend himself. But you're not here to mess with the other patrons. Head up to the top room and speak with Esbern. Mention Delphine and quote her about "remember the 30th of Frostfall". Once you say you're Dragonborn, Esbern will join your side.

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Start your exit out and you'll have to fight two more Thalmor soldiers. Esbern is a helpful caster and even Salvianus might assist in fighting the Thalmor. Watch out though, Esbern isn't a full companion and might get in a fight with whatever follower is already in your party. Simply exit the room and both sides should be peaceful again. Now just exit out the Warrens and return to Riverwood.Once Esbern and Delphine meet you'll have your next goal: Find the Sky Haven Temple.

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Alduin's Wall

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Getting to Sky Haven Temple is a long journey southwest. No town is all that close so you can't depend on a wagon. Soljund's Sinkhole is about the closest location to the temple, but that's not really near anything. So get ready for a long walk or grab a horse to make the journey faster. Beacuse you'll most likely arrive on foot expect to by attacked by just about anything along the way. If you want to prevent being sidetracked, just bolt out of these random encounters.

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To get into Sky Haven Temple proper, you will need to fight through Karthspire. You will mostly be fighting Forsworn: they are mostly barbarians that use hide armor and crude weapons. Some of them have lighting and ice magic which can make such casters more of a problem. However, Delphine and Esbern will hopefully still be by your side, making these encounters manageable. The Forsworn being wild people means most of their gear is junk not worth looting. Head northwest, up the stairsand turn the pillars so that each of them has the dragon reborn symbol: the circular heart shape.

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In the next room the floor will contain fire traps and more symbols. Keep walking along the dragon reborn symbols to stay safe. You can also jump across safe pressure points instead of just walking. Pull the chain ahead to completely disable the trap and lower the next bridge. You'll soon come to a stone head where nothing will seem to happen at first. Wait for Esbern to finish his speech and then activate the blood seal just before the head. Through the next room, wait for Esbern and Delphine to finish their dialogue and then examine the mural on the north wall. Talk to Delphine again and she will admit that you'll need the Greybeards help. Return to High Hrothgar for now.

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The Throat of the World

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Return back to High Hrothgar. If you haven't already, give the Greybeards the Horn of Jurgen and you will finish up your training. But the real business here is to talk to Arngeir and discover how alduin was defeated. The Greybeard will tell you about Paarthurnax. Head outside to the courtyard and the Greybeards will teach you the Clear Skies Shout. You can use this to clear massive ice storms that will be in your way as you ascend up towards the Throat of the World.

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Now head up south and climb the mountain further. Everytime a snow storm hits, use Clear Skies to avoid taking steady damage. The trek up the mountain is calm for the most part. There is the possibility to encounter hostile Ice Wraiths along the way through. These creatures are fast and can slow you down with their various ice attacks. It's highly recommended to use your flame spell to easily hit the enemy, as both melee and archery has a higher chance to miss such wily targets. As long as you have a follower, the enemies shouldn't be that tough.

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Once at the Throat of the World speak with Paarthurnax. It appears that you need to locate an Elder Scroll, but the leader of the Greybeards has no idea where it is. It will also teach you Fire Breath which you can use to "greet" him. Before leaving, talk to Paarthurnax again and he can boost one of your words of power, such as Unrelenting force or fire breath. We personally went with the Fus upgrade. Still head back down the mountain and speak with Arngeir. He will suggest going to the Mage's College in Winterhold.

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Winterhold is far off in the northeast, making it preferable to hail a wagon as far as you can. Even upon arriving in Winterhold, the gate to the college will be locked. To get inside you'll need to legitimately join up with this guild. Locate Faralda to join up. She will most likely be standing near the entrance walkway to the college, but if not try waiting. She'll want you to cast Firebolt on the tile in front of the entrance. If you don't know Firebolt yet, she will sell you a copy (what a scam). Once a member of the college and inside head to the Arcanaeum within the halls.

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Speak with Urag gro-Shub and he will give you a book on Elder Scrolls written by Septimus Signus. It's best to seek out this author to find the Scrolls location.

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Signus' Outpost is even further north of the College. Because you're already on such a steep hill, it's not practile to go straight north. Instead head down to the waters below the city and traverse towards the north. The encounters along the way are random, but mostly expect to fight Horkers and maybe Ice Bears. When you finally meet Signus, it appears he's completely off his rocker. He will at least give you a magic cube and sphere before pointing you towards Alftand where the Elder Scroll is.

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Elder Knowledge

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Alftand is southwest of Signus' Oupost. You can get there a little bit faster by fast traveling back to Winterhold. Along the way expect to fight mostly Ice Wraiths and maybe a Bear or Troll. Either way you'll eventually reach the mountain's ridge. The entrance to the glacial ruins is down the stairs and across a few bridges. Once inside head north and you should hear two Khajiit talking to one another. Don't worry it seems they are passed a blocked off wall, so they won't actual attack. Continue ahead to loot some broken Dwarven Spiders. They run on Soul Gems so if you're looking for more feel free to raid the broken machines. The gate to the north is jammed, so go around the western route.

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It seems that not all of the robots are disabled and a few will spring to life. Don't worry, the spiders are essentially the robotic version of wolves: complete fodder that dies easily. Once the spiders are destroyed keep going west. You'll notice a torch on the ground. Shortly after this marker you will come across one of the Khajiit, J'darr. He's killed the other catman and is looking to take you down too. He is poorly armored and only has a woodcutter's axe so not much of a threat. Take the healing potions off his body after the encounter. As for the dead J'zhar, he has a lockpick to add to your collection.

Once ready, keep going north and you'll face a new enemy: Dwarven Spheres. These things are really fast and will often get right in your face. Your follower equipped with a ranged weapon or spell will help immensely here. You'll also want to have your shield and healing spell ready to recover whatever damage you take. We perfered to use ice as a means to slow down the machines, but mostly stuck with melee attacks as the opponent would not backdown. Once the Spheres are dead, keep going north and you should see some rising platforms on the left side. Jump across theses and you can gain acess to a few treasures: a flawless emerald, draught of strength, some soul gems, and gold.

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Drop back down and continue your way down the halls. In the next room will be a gate with a novice lock. Passed this is an Apprentice locked chest with an Elven Shield of Waning Frost and a Potion of Stamina. There is also an Adept locked chest, but we only received junk inside. Once done here, exit out and take the stairs to the west. Fight a few more Dwarven Spiders and loot the side rooms for potions. Heading east will take you to the upper level where pistons will be jutting back and forth out of the walls. These are easy to avoid, but you can also use them to push down any more spiders you come across. Once the enemies are dead, continue east to enter the Animonculory.

In here head north and grab the Falmer Shield, Falmer Helmet, and more potions. Head east, kill a few more spider and you'll come across the corpse of Endrast. There isn't much on his person, but you can read his hournal and grab some nearby lockpicks. Now return west to battle a lone Dwarven Sphere. Continue ahead and you may notice the floor is covered with oil. As before you can use your flame spells to ignite the area and harm anything that passes by. But at this point most likely all threats will be cleared. Up the next ramp will be a trap triggered by pressure points. Walk on the far sides of the ramp or jump over the tiles to avoid springing the trap. However, any follower might spring it anyway after you've passed it.

Continue north, destroy another spider, and open a novice chest to gain a Ring of the Minor Knight, which will help with heavy armor skills. Now backtrack out of this nook and walk down the spiral pathway. There will be an Apprentice locked door to the east. Passed this are more spiders and several chests. We looted a Iron Battleaxe of Diminishing, Dawrven Helmet, Stamina potion, and draught of resist Shock. Exit out the room and leap down west to find the body of Yag gra-Gortwog. She has nothing of real intrest on her, but has dropped a potion and has some arrows and a Falmer axe in her.

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