According to Mjoll the Lioness, Maven has strong ties with the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild, making her the most influential person in Riften. When asked about her influence, Maven claims that she has Jarl Laila Law-Giver and the Riften Guard in her pocket. She is able to influence the outcome of any situation with money or by exploiting the fear that her allies will retaliate.
The matriarch of the Black-Briar family, Maven is virtually unapproachable and elitist. She holds the actual pulse of Riften in her crushing grip and is not above using unscrupulous methods to ensure things go her way. Anyone who crosses her typically ends up dead or in prison, even members of her own family.
- See also: Black-Briars
Maven is the mother of Hemming, Ingun, and Sibbi. Maul is her right-hand-man, and enforces her will in the city. He tells the Dragonborn not to stir up trouble with the Black-Briars. Extremely subservient to Maven, Maul will do whatever she asks of him without question.
There is conflicting information about Maven's relationship with the rest of her family. Mjoll refers to Hemming, Ingun, and Sibbi as Maven's children, and Maven has a conversation with Ingun during which each identifies the other by familial relationship. However, Hemming says that Ingun and Sibbi are his children. This can support the theory that Hemming was originally written to be Maven's husband, but was changed to her son later in the development of the game. Or simply Hemming is Maven's son and had two other children with her. In the Creation Kit Maven is set as Hemming's mother and the grandmother of both Sibbi and Ingun.
Maven becomes Jarl if the Imperial Legion gains control of Riften. She will appoint Hemming as her steward and Maul as her housecarl. If the Dragonborn sided with the Stormcloaks, and gave Riften to the Empire in "Season Unending," then retakes it for the Stormcloaks later, Maven, Hemming and Maul will not be exiled; they will simply resume their daily routine. This is likely due to Maven's level of influence in Riften and the rest of Skyrim, and because several quests in the Thieves Guild storyline make it necessary for her to be in Riften.
If she does become Jarl, however, she will stay in Mistveil Keep, and her normal conversations will not occur. New conversations with her court, rather than the citizens of Riften, can be overheard. Her bodyguard Maul and son Hemming can also be heard talking about her new position:
Maul: "Your mother seems to have taken to her seat quite well."
Hemming: "Yes, she's been grooming herself for this for quite a long time."
Maul: "It's surprising the Council is allowing a Nord rule Riften under the Imperial flag. That can't be their first choice."
Hemming: "Let's just say my mother knows which pockets to line and keep it at that."
Imprisoning her sonEdit
In Anuriel's chambers, a note from Maven reveals that she had her son Sibbi imprisoned for unknown reasons, writing that it is in his best interest to be kept under lock and key. The Dragonborn discovers that he was arrested for "airing out his family's dirty laundry." Specifically, he killed his ex-fiancée's brother after he was confronted about his affairs with other women.
- Your name carries weight in Riften. "Of course. Nothing gets done without my approval in this city. I have the Jarl's ear, and the guards in my pocket. Anyone makes trouble for me and I pay a visit to the Thieves Guild. Make me angry and I contact the Dark Brotherhood. You'd do well to remember that next time you make such a stupid observation."
- How did you become allied with the Thieves Guild? "The Black-Briar family has always been allied with the Guild. Our connections with the Empire and within Skyrim make for a perfect fit. I dare say the Guild owes its survival as much to my family as it does to its own people."
"I don't recall seeing you at one of these before. And I know everyone who's anyone in Skyrim. See that disgusting drunk over there? A high-ranking official in the East Empire Company, believe it or not."
- What brings you to this party? "To maintain relationships. By the way, I don't know who you are, but unless you want me to blow your cover, I'd advise that you avoid me for the rest of the party."
- What's your relationship with the Thalmor? "We have a relationship of mutual respect. I care little about the politics and rivalries between the Thalmor and the Empire. But I do respect power, and the Thalmor have that. They leave me alone, and I leave them alone."
Maven: "I don't like being made a fool of, Brand-Shei. Not one bit."
Brand-Shei: "Maven, please. I didn't know it was your man. Had I known, I would have looked the other way, I swear."
Maven: "Turning him in to the guards? Have you joined Mjoll as official peacekeepers of Riften? You cost me a lot of coin."
Brand-Shei: "Maven, I... please, don't hurt me."
Erikur: "Heard any news about the other parts of Skyrim?"
Maven: "I'm not sure that it's news, but lately it seems like every blacksmith in Skyrim is out to prove that he's the equal of Eorlund Gray-Mane. It's not really a fair comparison, if you ask me. After all, Eorlund works the Skyforge. How is any smith going to compete with that?"
Erikur: "Heard any news about the other parts of Skyrim?"
Maven: "Well, I did hear that the Argonians have been banned from living inside the walls of Windhelm. They're only allowed on the city docks now. Most of them sleep together in one building, and they're as poor as wretches."
Maven: "Grelka, how fast can you get your hands on some longbows?"
Grelka: "I don't usually deal in weapons, but I know someone who can get them for me. You mind paying a little extra to get them fast?"
Maven: "I don't care what it costs. I need four longbows and four score of arrows. Just make it happen."
Grelka: "I'll contact my man tonight and let you know what he says."
Maven: "Haelga, I like you, so I'm only going to say this one time. If you ever try and "practice the Dibellan arts" with Hemming again, I'll make sure that pretty little face loses its beauty."
Haelga: "He wasn't protesting, Maven."
Maven: "Of course he wasn't you stupid whore; he's a man. Now I'm not going to warn you again. Is that clear?"
Haelga: "Very well."
Hemming: "Bersi still refuses to cooperate. What did you want to do?"
Maven: "I've known Bersi a long time. Even before he opened that rubbish heap he calls a shop."
Hemming: "And if he still refuses?"
Maven: "Then put the thumbscrews on him and hit him... hard."
Maven: "Hemming, I want you to personally supervise the next shipment."
Hemming: "We already have people that do that and they make quite a bit of coin for it."
Maven: "I don't trust them. Come to think of it, I don't trust you either, but at least you're family."
Hemming: "Anything you say, Mother."
Maven: "Hemming, I need you to bring a note to Sibbi. I need him to do something for me."
Hemming: "Sibbi? He's in prison... you put him there."
Maven: "I know that!" or "I can promise you when he's ready, he'll find the cell door unlocked."
Hemming: "Why do you tolerate him, mother? All he contributes to this family is embarrassment and disgrace."
Maven: "I tolerate your son because he'll do anything I ask, without question. I'd expect the same from my own son."
Hemming: "I understand, mother. Forgive me."
Maven: "Ingun, how much longer do you intend to waste your life concocting your foolish little potions?"
Ingun: "I've told you, my interest in the family business is quite low. I wish to be much more than just a merchant."
Maven: "Your interests lay where I wish them to lay otherwise my favorite daughter may end up homeless and without a septim to her name. Is that clear?"
Ingun: "Yes, mother."
Madesi: "Lady Maven, how may I help you?"
Maven: "Is it true that you refused to sell one of your... trinkets to Hemming?"
Madesi: "Please, milady, it was only because he threatened me. He said he'd have me thrown in the prisons if I didn't give him what he wanted! I can't afford to just give my jewelry away!"
Maven: "Next time a Black-Briar asks for something, I suggest you respond quickly and affirmatively."
Marise: "Oh! Miss Maven. What can I do for you?"
Maven: "Relax, Marise... I have no quarrel with you. I just wish to speak a moment."
Maven: "You watch the market, you hear the rumors around Riften. What have you heard about these dragons?"
Marise: "I heard a traveler say that Helgen was destroyed by one of those creatures. Didn't leave a soul alive they said."
Maven: "Interesting. Keep your ears open for me and tell me if you hear anything more. I'll make it worth your while."
Mjoll the LionessEdit
Mjoll: "Maven. How's the criminal underworld treating you this fine day?"
Maven: "You may have everyone else impressed around here, but you don't impress me. You couldn't touch me if you wanted to."
Mjoll: "You're a cold, unfeeling bitch."
Maven: "My dear, you have no idea who you're trifling with. Now I suggest you turn around and rattle someone else's cage before you get hurt."
Mjoll: "I'm watching you, Maven Black-Briar. One day, you'll slip up and your Imperial friends won't be there to catch your fall."
Vulwulf: "Maven! So good to see you again. Hoist a flagon and celebrate with me!"
Maven: "Vulwulf, it's always a pleasure. When you're standing downwind of me."
Vulwulf: "Sorry, what was that?"
Maven: "Nothing Vulwulf... cheers."
Maven: "I'm telling you, Vulwulf, it's the investment you've been waiting for."
Vulwulf: "So I pay for the weapon shipments and you oversee their distribution to the Stormcloaks?"
Maven: "Exactly. What better way to help the cause than to put weapons into the hands of young Nord warriors dying for their homeland?"
Vulwulf: "Shor's Beard! You're right! I'll do it... provided you supervise the shipments personally."
Maven: "Don't worry, I'll treat those shipments as if I owned them myself."
If Riften is taken by the Imperial Legion during the Civil War questline and Maven becomes Jarl, she will have the following conversations with her court:
Hemming: "There's still the matter of the prisoner to discuss. Now, his family is willing to contribute handsomely if we release him."
Maven: "The execution will proceed as planned."
Hemming: "But, mother... this is quite a sizable contribution and the crime doesn't befit such a harsh punishment."
Maven: "Are you going soft on me, Hemming? Perhaps I made the wrong choice installing you as steward."
Hemming: "No, mother. The execution will proceed as planned."
Maven: "Hemming, have you dispatched that letter I gave you yesterday?"
Hemming: "Yes, and I sent it with our fastest courier and under the cover of night, exactly as you specified."
Maven: "Good. If I need to light a few fires in order to get what we need to defend this place from the Stormcloaks, so be it."
Hemming: "I'm almost certain he'll reach the Imperial City tomorrow, so we should have an answer by the end of the week."
Laila: "Maven! Always a pleasure to receive you. What can I help you with today?"
Maven: "Thank you, Laila. I wanted to discuss the protection of my shipments." OR "I'm certain you're aware of the loss I sustained a fortnight ago."
Laila: "Yes, indeed. An entire caravan shipment of your mead taken by Imperial soldiers. What of it?"
Maven: "Well, I'm also certain you're aware that our own city guard failed to provide the protection required to ensure safe passage of the shipment."
Laila: "Indeed. We lost three soldiers in that attack. A sad day for Riften."
Maven: "I have payments to make you realize. If I can't make them, I can't make Black-Briar Mead." OR "Quite. To be brief, I need compensation for the lost shipment. Since Riften was responsible for it, Riften should pay for it."
Laila: "We... don't have enough to..."
Maven: "Laila, Riften is my home, but if my meadery can't be safe here, I'll just move it elsewhere."
Laila: "No, that won't be necessary. You'll have compensation for your loss."
Maven: "Thank you, Laila."
Maven: "Any word about our little problem in the Ratway?"
Maul: "I've spoken to Brynjolf and he assures me it'll be taken care of."
Maven: "Next time you speak to him, tell him to clean up his own messes. I'm not about to jeopardize this position for a bunch of low-life thugs."
Maul: "I'll let him know."
Maul: "My agents are telling me that we've appropriated the caravan from Hammerfell... with minimal losses."
Maven: "For what it's costing me, I should be handed the merchandise on a silver platter."
Maul: "The coin isn't just for the men, there's a lot of people that need to be compensated in order to make this happen."
Maven: "And a hefty cut for yourself too I'm sure. Just see to it the items are secured and the rest disposed of properly this time."
Maven: "Why are the potions I requested not completed?"
Wylandriah: "I'm sorry, milady. The components for those elixirs are quite volatile and in some cases, very dangerous to handle. I must take care."
Maven: "Excuses are not acceptable in my court. When I ask for something I expect results, and I expect them immediately."
Wylandriah: "Yes, milady. Sorry, milady. They will be completed."
Maven has a significant amount of unused dialogue, meant to be heard in an attack on Riften as part of the Stormcloak questline. However, this battle never occurs, so the lines are never heard. The first exchange would have occurred upon entering Mistveil Keep in the attack with Galmar Stone-Fist and the other Stormcloak soldiers.
Maul: "Halt in the name of the Jarl!"
Maven: "Somehow I doubt that will persuade them."
Maul: "Stay back, lord!"
Maven: "If they want my city, they're going to have to take it from me personally."
Maul: "Protect the Jarl with your lives!"
Laila: "Ahhh... It's good to be home."
Maven: "Welcome back. I've left a few surprises for you to discover."
Laila: "How kind of you. And I've brought an army to give you a going away parade."
Galmar: "If you two are finished with the touching homecoming, there's a city in chaos out there."
Laila: "Indeed. Come, there is much to be done."
Alternatively, in the event of an Imperial victory, a similar conversation will occur, this time between Maven, Laila, and :
Maven: "I think I'll like living here."
Laila: "So enters Maven Black-Briar, the glint of Imperial coin in her eyes. So tell me, what's the price for a woman's integrity these days?"
Maven: "You never were able to see the forest for the trees, were you?"
Laila: "We Nords were proud warriors once. And we still could be. Evidenced by the men and women who fought and died bravely today. You could see that if you had any faith left in that black heart of yours. But no, you're content to snatch scraps falling off the Emperor's table. Fine. Take my home. Take my city. May it burn down around you."
Maven: "A bit melodramatic, even for you Laila. Pack your things and go."
Laila: "One day when you can see past your own interests, you will come to see that we were right. And this... This is all wrong."
Rikke: "If you ladies are finished bickering, there's much to be done. Jarl Black-Briar put your government together. Do it now, or there will be rioting in the streets. We must move quickly to prevent further violence."
Maven: "Jarl Black-Briar. I must admit, I do like the sound of that. And don't worry about any rioting, Legate. I have it under control. We will soon begin publicly executing captured men. That should send a clear message to the people."
Laila: "Yes, but not likely the one you intend."
Maven: "Oh? I don't expect anyone to miss my meaning. Come, Legate. There's much to do."
- "I presume you're bothering me for a good reason."
- "What in the name of Oblivion do you want?"
- "Out of my way!"
- "I don't have time for idle chit-chat. What is it?"
- "I believe we're done."
- "Good, more kindling for my hearth." (After giving her The Warmth of Mara)
- "The Throne suits me, don't you think?"(After becoming Jarl)
- "My title is just a formality. I've always been in charge around here." (After becoming Jarl)
- "Jarl Maven Black-Briar. Has a pleasant sound to it, wouldn't you say?" (After becoming Jarl)
- Maven was voiced by Elisa Gabrielli.
- Maven wrote several notes that can be found scattered throughout Riften. The notes written by Maven are Notice of Cost Increase, Sibbi Black-Briar, To The Brotherhood, and Note from Maven, showing the various connections and power she holds in the city.
- Maven is marked as essential, and thus cannot be killed. If attacked, she may use Sparks, indicating she is capable of casting spells.
- Maven can be found mingling with the crowd at the party during Diplomatic Immunity. If she has been talked to previously and the Dragonborn speaks with her during the party, she will say to stop talking to her unless they want her to blow their cover. Continuing to speak with her, however, will not cause any ill effects or alert the guards in any manner. There is dialogue available for her to provide a distraction, but since none of the quests involving her raise her disposition accordingly it cannot be heard.
- Lillith Maiden-Loom claims to be friends with Maven. However, Maven never mentions her name, so there is no way this can be confirmed.
- If the Dragonborn is a member of the Thieves Guild, attacking her or any other member of the Black-Briar family can trigger the quest "Reparations."
- Downstairs in the Black-Briar Manor, there is a master locked door. If its lock is picked (or Maven's Personal Key, pickpocketed from her is used), the Dragonborn will find a skeleton, a human heart, human flesh, and a note To The Brotherhood indicating she has performed the Black Sacrament.
- During the quest Scoundrel's Folly, Maven has additional dialogue available, during which she expresses her suspicions about the Thieves Guild, and states that a way to convince her that the Thieves Guild is on her side would be delivering her the deed to Goldenglow Estate, which she would also give considerable compensation for. However, after receiving it from Gulum-Ei, it is not possible to give it to Maven.
- Maven means "one who understands" or "one who knows" in Hebrew.
- Maven is one of only two Jarls with a unique voice, the other being Ulfric Stormcloak.
- According to the Official Game Guide, Maven privately funds the Honourhall Orphanage in Riften. This is more likely to be out of securing a monopoly in Riften than out of any humanitarian aims, however.
This section contains bugs related to Maven Black-Briar. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Jarl because the Dragonborn gave Riften to the Imperial Legion during the negotiation, but then Riften is taken back by siding with the Stormcloaks, she will no longer be Jarl, but her name will still be shown as "Jarl Maven Black-Briar." If she becomes
- Sometimes, if the Dragonborn is traveling around in Riften, there may be a chance that Maven attacks the Riften guards along with a legion of imperial soldiers. Maven will be stuck in an endless loop of being attacked (due to her being unable to die).