The first step of the quest is for the Dragonborn to speak to Gabriella in the Sanctuary. She says that Commander Maro will be in charge of the Emperor's security when he comes to Skyrim, and that the Dark Brotherhood wants Maro distracted during the Emperor's visit. The way to achieve this is to kill Commander Maro's son, Gaius Maro, and plant false evidence on his body of a plot to assassinate the Emperor. Not only will this cause Commander Maro to be distracted, it will also give the Emperor a false sense of security: since he will believe that an assassination plot has already been foiled, he won't be expecting another one. She says that if the deed is done in a major city, Astrid has authorized her to give the Dragonborn a token to give to Olava the Feeble, a friend to the Dark Brotherhood that will enable her to tell the Dragonborn's future. An Incriminating Letter will be added to inventory.
The Dragonborn must go to Dragon Bridge for Gaius Maro to start his travels, but killing him there will prevent the bonus from being received. He can be observed in front of the Penitus Oculatus Outpost, saying goodbye to his father. After he leaves, the Dragonborn can steal Gaius Maro's Schedule by sneaking inside the outpost and waiting for the guard inside to move away from the table with the schedule.
- Gaius Maro will not leave Dragon Bridge until after he is heard talking to his father and wife. He will only appear in another town if the Dragonborn waits to steal his schedule, after he begins walking. He moves slower than the Dragonborn, so care is needed to avoid getting too close and alerting him that he is being followed. It is much easier to fast travel to one of his destinations and lay in wait.
Places and methods for killing Gaius MaroEdit
After fast traveling to Riften, the alleyway to the left provides an opportunity (the lock on the gate may need to be picked). As Maro leaves (around 1:00 A.M.), shooting him with an arrow will avoid detection and any bounty. If the archery skill is at a low level, he may not die with one sneak attack, so there may be a fight. Another option is to wait in the corner of Riften Castle's courtyard, behind the small grouping of trees, and wait for him to exit (he exits that side every time at around 11:30 A.M., although the actual times may vary). He will be alone and far enough away from any guards to allow him to be killed without any worry about bounty.
Palace of the Kings (or other Barracks)Edit
Gaius Maro will sleep in the barracks with the guards in Windhelm. This can be one of the hardest places to get him without being detected. Around 10:00 P.M., in the corner by the sleeping guard, he can be shot with a bow (preferably after having coated the arrows with poison). Each time he is shot, he will get up and look around the room. He can be continually shot without being discovered. Warning: The guards in the beds will sometimes get up and look as well, but will not see the Dragonborn in the shadows. After Maro is dead, once the guards settle down it is possible to creep over to his body and plant the Incriminating Letter. Sneaking back to the corner, then jumping over the beds with the guards in them until the doorway is reached, allows the Dragonborn to sneak out to freedom.
In Whiterun, it is extremely easy to sneak into his bedroom in The Bannered Mare, as it seems to be the only time he isn't bunking in a castle or in barracks. He can be killed in his sleep with the door shut, and then the letter planted. This does not result in a bounty.
However, there is a high chance that Gaius Maro might fall behind on his itinerary schedule and therefore only make a brief stop at The Bannered Mare, for some drinks, before continuing on to Markarth. In this case he normally arrives alone on Turdas evening (10:00-11:00 P.M.) and heads straight to the hearth in the middle of the inn for a drink, whilst enjoying the bard's performances.
With a high level of Sneak and the Ebony Mail, while sneaking he can be shot using a ranged weapon from the balcony of the room overlooking the hearth (it's the same room rented from Hulda). Since this balcony is full of shadowy spots it is possible to hide in one of those and wait for Gaius Maro to charge upstairs looking for his assailant. Once he has touched the shadowy tendrils of poison emitted by the Ebony Mail, it is just a matter of waiting for him to fall lifeless. Then the Incriminating Letter can be planted and the scene left with no alarm raised.
Obviously, this technique can also be used in other dark locations as well. A word of caution though: killing him in public usually leads to collateral damage, so there will be some bodies on the way out of the inn.
Sometimes, he can be killed in full view of guards and citizens. The guards will do their normal "What was that?" routine, but won't notice him being slaughtered, even though they see the Dragonborn plainly. Citizens, however, will scold and sometimes turn hostile when they see Gaius Maro killed.
Approaching him directlyEdit
Another alternative method is for the Dragonborn to approach Gaius Maro and use the option of telling him how he will be killed, and then the Emperor. After this, Gaius will begin to attack. Letting him strike the first blow, then fighting back and killing him will not cause a bounty. This method can be used in any major city in order to receive the bonus. If using this method, it's best to confront him in view of a guard - so that it is seen that Gaius attacks first. However, if a guard wanders into view of the fight as it's proceeding and the first blow he sees is struck by The Dragonborn, a bounty will be earned.
If the Dragonborn is a member of the Thieves Guild and happens to encounter Gaius Maro in Riften, if he is provoked, fellow Thieves Guild members (and even Maven Black-Briar) will come to the Dragonborn's defense. They will finish him off. More generally, if Gaius is attacked in a town or city where friends are present, they will help to kill him.
Alternatively, if he is killed anywhere in a city where the Dragonborn is Thane, the Dragonborn's position as Thane can be used to remove the bounty.
During a Dragon AttackEdit
The bonus can also be received just outside a city. If a dragon attacks just outside a city, he can be killed while the guards are fighting the dragon, resulting in no bounty. The bonus will still be counted.
An easy way to kill Gaius without good combat skills is when he is in Dragonsreach, in Whiterun. He can be approached and provoked. Once he attacks, the entire court of Whiterun will attack him. However, they will not kill him, but lower his health down to the point as to when he falls to one knee; he can then be killed with an extra swing or two.
With high enough Pickpocket skill, it is possible to plant the Incriminating Letter on Gaius before killing him. This allows him to be killed at range and in the open, and the quest completed without approaching his body. With the pickpocket perk Poisoned, poison can also be placed in his pocket along with the note. The Lotus Extract poison from the mission "Mourning Never Comes" is ideal for this.
While in Whiterun, after planting the incriminating letter on Gaius, he can be murdered using Beast Form. Afterwards, escaping to The Companions' Underforge, it is possible to wait until returning to normal appearance.
Gaius can be attacked while outside a major city but not killed, by running away and losing him. Once he has entered a major hold, he will attack the Dragonborn on sight. Since he attacked first, he can be killed with impunity. The guards will either help the Dragonborn or not do anything.
At some point, Gaius will go to the guard tower in Markarth. Once he's back out of the tower, Unrelenting Force (preferably all three words) will launch him off of the high point that the guard tower is on. After following him down, Gaius will attack once he's back on his feet, causing the guards to see this as a crime and attack him until he yields. He can then be simply finished off, and the Incriminating Letter planted.
Whenever Gaius sees the Dragonborn he begins taking an alternate route. This can make the quest quite hard as he will turn away from a city if he sees the Dragonborn anywhere near it. If this happens, waiting in a tavern in a city on his route will allow him to eventually resume his normal journey.
Upon returning to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, Gabriella approaches, initiating dialogue and congratulating the Dragonborn on completing the mission. She then gives all due rewards. This completes "Breaching Security" and automatically starts "The Cure for Madness", in which something has gone wrong in the Sanctuary. Also, if the bonus (Olava's Token) was earned, the miscellaneous quest "Receive a reading from Olava the Feeble" is started.
Gaius Maro's ScheduleEdit
- Tirdas - Windhelm, the Palace of the Kings
- Tirdas Evening - Windhelm Barracks (food and sleep)
- Middas - Riften, Mistveil Keep
- Turdas - Whiterun, Dragonsreach
- Turdas Evening - Whiterun, The Bannered Mare (food and sleep)
- Fredas - Markarth, Understone Keep
- Fredas Evening - Markarth, guard tower (food and sleep)
- Loredas & Sundas - To be spent at your discretion
- Repeat (until I have recalled you personally)
The guards and Jarls of the cities have been informed of your arrival, and will leave you to your work. Study the guard patterns, examine any entrances and exits, and make note of any irregularities.
Talk to no one - the fewer people who know about your mission, the safer the Emperor will ultimately be.
Astrid informed me that I should speak to Gabriella about my next contract, which has something to do with the Emperor's security.
I must kill Gaius Maro, an agent of the Emperor's security force. Once he's dead, I must plant a letter on his body that will incriminate him in a plot to kill the Emperor. If I wish to earn a bonus, I must not kill him in Dragon Bridge, or on the road, but in one of the cities he visits.
I have killed Gaius Maro, and planted the Incriminating Letter on his body. This will surely disrupt the security plan for the Emperor's visit, ruin Commander Maro emotionally, and make the Emperor believe that the only plot to kill him has been foiled.
- It is possible to plant the Incriminating Letter on Gaius first, even as early as him leaving Dragon Bridge.
- Oddly, Commander Maro informed Windhelm (the Stormcloak Headquarters) of his son's arrival, when the Letter to be placed on Gaius is about him plotting with the Stormcloaks.
- This quest is an easy way to level Sneak, especially with The Thief Stone active, as remaining hidden while following behind him on his route will continually raise Sneak.
This section contains bugs related to Breaching Security. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
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