After Neloth assigns to the Dragonborn the task of finding him a new steward, and after the withered part of Tel Mithryn is repaired, a third attack causes Neloth to reveal to the Dragonborn his suspicion that the attacks are organized - the same suspicion that Captain Veleth has about the attacks on Raven Rock. Neloth gives the Dragonborn the task of discovering the source of the attacks.
The quest becomes available once "Healing a House" or "Reluctant Steward" and "Briarheart Necropsy" are completed. Travel to Tel Mithryn and encounter several Ash Spawn outside. Upon killing them, head into the main tower and notify Neloth of the attack.
He states that its not a coincidence that the events that have taken place occurred, and states that someone must be behind the attacks.
- I suppose you want me to kill them: "Not yet. That may come later. First I need to identify the culprit. I've enchanted this ring to find the source of the attacks. Here, take it."
- Would I be able to collect a bounty?: "Don't get ahead of yourself. All you are going to do is wear this ring and walk around Tel Mithryn. If you find something, then we can talk about bounties and rewards."
How do you know you are under attack?: "Ash spawn keep appearing. One night a part of my tower mysteriously withered. Then my steward was killed. You had to find me a replacement. I've even been attacked by dragons! Do I need to go on?"
- I'm not sure the dragons are about you: "Maybe not. I hear they've been seen over Skyrim too. Even so, there is more than enough evidence that someone is out to get me."
- I saw a dragon once: "Really? When this is over, you'll have to tell me all about it."
Find the sourceEdit
He gives you Neloth's Ring of Tracking which will help identify the culprit.
How close do I have to be?: "The link is weak, so you'll have to be within about a hundred feet of the source."
Put on the ring and head east along the coast of Tel Mithryn to a small graveyard surrounded by Deathbells. When within a hundred feet of the location, a sarcophagus starts to glow purple, and fade. This is Ildari Sarothril's sarcophagus and inside is a Heart Stone. Collect it, then return to Neloth to tell him the stone was in Ildari's grave. Neloth thinks Ildari, his former apprentice, is behind the attacks. He believed she was dead, but there was no body in the grave.
This heart stone is the source of the attacks: "Hmm. I've known for decades that heart stones will animate the ash. But it would have to be very close by. Where exactly did you find this heart stone?"
It was in Ildari Sarothril's grave: "Ildari? Then it's my own fault. She was my apprentice before Talvas. She volunteered for one of my experiments involving heart stones. It was quite annoying when she died."
- Experiment? What did you do to her?: "My necropsies of Spriggans led me to believe that a heart stone could be implanted in a person's chest, granting them great power. I was considering replacing my heart with a heart stone. Fortunately Ildari offered to let me operate on her first. Of course this was before your briarheart expedition. Now I know that I did the surgery all wrong."
- There wasn't a body in the grave. Just the heart stone: "What?! That's impossible. Wait... unless she didn't actually die! The heart stone could have kept her right at the edge of life and death. Could it be? Could Ildari still be alive? Could she be my nemesis? Wait a moment while I cast a more specific divination.
Next, he casts a divination and finds that she is in Highpoint Tower.
He reveals: "So, Ildari does live after all. She thought she could hide from me, but she can't! She's holed up in Highpoint Tower. Go rip that thrice cursed heart stone from her chest."
Is there a bounty on her then?: "Why is it always about money? Yes, yes. I'll find something around here to pay you with. Now go."
Asking if he is coming along, he replies:
He parts with: "Be sure to bring back an amusing story of how Ildari died."
Traveling to Highpoint Tower, the entry was previously blocked, but the ash has been cleared. The path to the door can be reached by a nondescript crevice on the northern side of the mound. Ash spawn are guarding the entrance which will need to be taken care of. Upon entering Highpoint Tower, head down the stairs. Deep underground, the fort contains a prison where Niyya, a miner, is locked up. If released, she reveals that she and the other miners took pity on Ildari, thinking she was badly injured, and she repaid their kindness by attacking them in the night. She imprisoned most of them for her personal experiments. Further exploration will reveal a large cavernous area where Ildari is holed up with ash guardians and ash spawn. She taunts "You've gone far enough. Neloth is a fool to think he could send some low life to finish me off." and retreats further into the ruins where there are further ash spawn. She can be found and fought in a final chamber, and the battle ends with the Dragonborn ripping out the Heart Stone that was keeping her alive.
Return to NelothEdit
Upon returning to Tel Mithryn, Neloth greets the Dragonborn with "You're alive. I hope that bodes ill for Ildari." Inform him she is dead and he responds:
Neloth gives the Dragonborn a staff, and also makes them a Hireling of House Telvanni as a reward. Asking him what it means to be a member of his house, he remarks: "For now, not much. But in a few decades when I return to Vvardenfell, you would be seen as Morrowind nobility. In the mean time, we would keep a bed and chest here for you."
|Neloth is being attacked by an unknown assailant. He gave me a ring that will identify the source of the attacks. If I walk around the grounds of Tel Mithryn, I might find a clue.
|Neloth is being attacked by an unknown assailant. He gave me a ring that identified the source of the attacks as a heart stone hidden in the grave of Ildari Sarothril.
|Neloth is being attacked by an unknown assailant. I discovered the source of the attacks was a heart stone hidden in Ildari Sarothril's grave. Neloth has divined that his former apprentice is still alive and seeking vengeance on him. Neloth asked me to track down and kill Ildari.
|Neloth's former apprentice, Ildari Sarothril, was covertly attacking him. Deep under Highpoint Tower I confronted Ildari and killed her.
- Despite mentioning to keep a bed and chest for use in Tel Mithryn, no such reward is actually granted as all beds within Tel Mithryn remain owned. Bethesda's response to this was: "Neloth is eccentric and possibly insane so you should take whatever he promises with a grain of salt." 
- If the Tel Mithryn Steward's Key has been looted from Varona during the quest "Reluctant Steward" you can gain entry to the steward's house. The bed is not shown as being owned, and thus able to be used at will. The chest in the room however is not safe storage as the location respawns in 10 days.
- Highpoint Tower is blocked by ash until this quest has been initiated.
- With a powerful enough bow, archery skill, and an accurate shot or two (preferably as sneak attacks), it is possible to bring Ildari to her knees when she initially appears in the cavern. This will not prevent the ash spawn from attacking, but nicely circumvents the boss fight.
- The player can accidentally knock the unique heartstone out of the grave without realizing it if they use destruction spells while fighting the Ash Spawn. (The staff is much harder to dislodge, probably due to its shape.) In some cases, the unique heartstone may end up on the ground nearby after combat, and can even end up in the water.
This section contains bugs related to Old Friends. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to see the list of bugs encountered|