Speaking to Neloth after completing one side quest for him will make this quest available. He begins it by asking if the Dragonborn has seen his steward, Varona.
"Have you seen Varona? I'm hungry."
No, I haven't seen Varona: "Well find her. Tell her I want apple cabbage stew, with some canis root tea."
- Why don't you just make your own tea?: "What? Make my own tea? I am a master wizard of the house Telvanni. Other people make tea for me."
- Of course, Master Neloth. As you command: "Finally. Someone who recognises my importance around here."
- Hey, I'm not your servant: "Obviously not, or you would have a cup of tea in your hands. I supposed you want to be asked nicely. Very well. Please, oh hero of Skyrim. Please find Varona. I shall be ever so grateful."
Talk to Elynea Mothren in the Tel Mithryn Apothecary or Ulves Romoran in Tel Mithryn Kitchen. They both reveal she left for Raven Rock a few hours ago to arrange for supplies. Next, a quest marker will appear on the map with the location of Varona. Follow the quest marker to Varona's corpse. She will be surrounded by ash spawn, indicating she was ambushed by the creatures.
Return to NelothEdit
Go back to Tel Mithryn and inform Neloth that Varona was killed on the way to Raven Rock. In his typical selfish manner, Neloth remarks:
Varona is dead: "Dead? Well that's annoying. How did she die?"
It looks like an ash spawn attack: "There are more and more of those things showing up around here lately. I suppose you'll have to find me a new steward. Try Raven Rock. They are in awe of me there. I'm sure almost anyone would be willing to serve me."
After this, the following three options are presented:
- What kind of a person should I look for?: "Hmm. Excellent question. Once word gets out, there will be a lot of people to choose from. Someone with a brilliant mind and robust physique that is blindly obedient would be ideal. Oh, and they need to know how to brew tea. Ulves always waters it down"
- You can't just order me around: "Well, somebody needs to get me a new steward. It might as well be you. But if you don't want to help a master wizard of House Telvanni, possibly earning his favor, you're a fool."
- What's in it for me?: "So gaining the favor of a Telvanni wizard isn't enough? I suppose I'll have to pay you. Heroes. They get greedier every century."
Find a new stewardEdit
Head to Raven Rock in search of a new steward. Almost everyone in town will refuse to become Neloth's new steward for various reasons, however Drovas Relvi, a worker at the The Retching Netch, will gladly accept the position.
When asked, he replies: "Uh... you mean leave Raven Rock? For good? To go work for a crazed Telvanni wizard? Sure. Just let me get my things. On second thought, nevermind. I can get new stuff."
Asking why he seems so eager, he replies: "Well, I've never been one to pass up an opportunity. Sorry to run, but I'm off to my new job." Keen to begin, Drovas immediately leaves Raven Rock and makes his way to Tel Mithryn.
Return to Neloth to complete the quest and earn a reward of leveled gold and access to his Staff Enchanter.
I've found you a new steward: "That Drovas man? I suppose he'll do. He makes dreadful canis root tea though. But, I should be grateful. Here, take this for your efforts. Oh, and you may use my staff enchanter if you want."
Later, during the quest "Old Friends", Neloth can be asked how Drovas is getting along. Neloth replies:
How is Drovas working out?: "The man makes a dreadful cup of canis root tea. However, he seems to run the place well enough. Oh. Were you fishing for a compliment? A sign of gratitude? Don't waste your time. Those things are for the weak and foolish."
Raven Rock rejectionsEdit
|"Do you want to be the new steward of Tel Mithryn?"|
|Adril Arano||"I'm perfectly content with my current position."|
|Bralsa Drel||"Would he give me skooma? I might do it for some skooma." [note 1]|
|Cindiri Arano||"I could never leave Adril behind, and he will never leave Lleril. Besides, I'd never work for Neloth! I heard he cut the heart out of his former apprentice."|
|Crescius Caerellius||"Nah. I don't think so. Anyway, I don't think he'd take on anyone that isn't a dunmer."|
|Dreyla Alor||"My father needs me. He can't run his market stand alone. Besides, Neloth is as loony as a skooma addict. He wanted my father to import a white mammoth. Alive!"|
|Fethis Alor||"Don't be ridiculous. Who would run this place? You should ask around at The Retching Netch. Someone there might be crazy enough, or drunk enough, to do it."|
|Garyn Ienth||"And leave my farm? No thank you."|
|Glover Mallory||"Ha ha ha! Gods, that's rich. Work for Neloth. Ha ha ha!"|
|Milore Ienth||"Not on your life! I'd sooner try to swim back to Windhelm."|
|Mirri Severin||"Now why would I want to work for House Telvanni? Besides, Neloth is a madman!"|
|Mogrul||"Ha ha ha! Not on your life! I'd have to be truly desperate to do that!"|
|Rirns Llervu||"I'd saw off my own leg for a septim, but you couldn't pay me enough to do that."|
|Geldis Sadri||"Are you nuts? Neloth is crazy! I hear he talks to Mud Crabs."|
Neloth has asked me to locate his steward, Varona Nelas. She is probably somewhere around Tel Mithryn.
|Neloth has asked me to locate his steward, Varona Nelas. Last time anyone in Tel Mithryn saw her, she was on her way to Raven Rock.|
|Neloth has asked me to locate his steward, Varona Nelas. I found her body on the road to Raven Rock.
|I found Varona's dead body on the road to Raven Rock, apparently killed by ash spawn. Now Neloth wants me to find someone in Raven Rock willing to be his new steward.
|Neloth asked me to locate his steward, Varona Nelas. I found her dead body on the road to Raven Rock. Neloth sent me to Raven Rock to find a new steward. I found Drovas Relvi, who seemed very eager to take the position.
- ↑ Despite Bralsa's response, it's not actually possible to give her skooma. There does seem to be an unused line of dialogue in the game data that suggests it may have been considered at one point, however she refers to Neloth as a female: "Skooma! Lovely skooma. But I'd sooner give it up than go work for her [sic]. That dunmer is crazy!"
This section contains bugs related to Reluctant Steward. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
When finding Varona's corpse, the place marker will appear at the footsteps of Tel Mithryn.
- The power of the Ritual Stone can be used to free the body of Varona and continue the quest.
- On PC a player can open the console and type
tcl, then walk through the floor to Varona's corpse. The player can then cast Reanimate Corpse/Revenant on her to resurrect her for 60 seconds. After 60 seconds the player can examine her corpse and pass the stage of the quest.
Sometimes if too much time has passed since receiving the quest, Varona's corpse will be cleaned-up by the game's automated dead body cleaning script.
- Solution: Type into the console
prid xx0177DDwhere the xx is your load order of Dragonborn.esm (i.e., 04). This will select the Varona. Then type in
moveto player, and her body should appear at your feet. Search her body and the quest will advance properly.
- Solution: Type into the console
- If the Dragonborn waits several in-game days before looking for Varona, there may not be any Ash Spawns around Varona's dead body.
- Varona's body may be lying next to Talvas in Tel Mithryn rather than on the road to Raven Rock.
- Sometimes, the quest marker to find her body will be off the map, and her body may not spawn. There's no known fix for this.