- Prerequisite: Hard Answers
- Quest Giver: Enthir
- Reward: Glass Dagger
- Reputation Gain: N/A
- Starts Trinity Restored quest upon completion
Meet Karliah at the Ragged Flagon
Journal Entry: I'm on my way back to the Ragged Flagon to meet up with Karliah. Using the information gained from Gallus's Journal as proof, I hope to convince Brynjolf of Karliah's innocence and Mercer Frey 's betrayal.
After meeting up with Karliah at the Ragged Flagon, you follow her into the cistern where you are confronted by Brynjolf, Vex and Delvin . Karliah shows him Gallus's journal as proof of Mercer Frey's betrayal and her innocence in the assassination of Gallus, the previous Guildmaster. The journal also details that Mercer has been stealing from the guild. Brynjolf and Delvin both use their copy of the two keys required to open the guild vault. Upon opening the vault, they find that everything has been stolen, presumably by Mercer.
Speak to Brynjolf
Journal Entry: Brynjolf has been convinced of Karliah's innocence and Mercer's betrayal after investigating the Guild's treasure vault and finding it empty. Of greater mystery is the fact that the vault can only be opened with two keys and is utterly impervious to lockpicking. How Mercer Frey could have breached it is a mystery to us all.
Infiltrate Mercer's House
Journal Entry: The hunt is on and I'm on my way to Riftweald Manor, Mercer Frey's estate in Riften, to locate a clue as to his current whereabouts.
Brynjolf has asked you to break into Mercer Frey's house, Riftweald Manor to gather any evidence of his whereabouts.
Make your way to Riftweald Manor and you will find that you cannot get into the house through the front as the door is barred from the inside. Make your way around the back (either going through the two novice locked gates to the left of the door or making your way right around past the thieves guild secret entrance to the right) and you will find an expert locked gate leading into the backyard of the house. You now have several options:
- Pick your way in (watching for Vald in the backyard and guard patrols) and then kill Vald to obtain the Mercer House Key.
- Wait till Vald comes to the gate and give him his contract (assuming you have completed the optional quest below), he will unlock the gate and give you a Mercer House Key.
- Parkour your way in the yard using roofs and kill Vald, search his body for the key.
- Wait in the alley near the gate, and wait for Vald to come to the gate. If you stay out of sight and wait, he will turn around and wait long enough for you to pick his pocket for the key.
- Go up to the gate and get Vald's attention, then back away and he will open the gate so you can kill him and take the key.
- Wait for Vald to open the gate for you, then slip past him and go up the ramp, wait for him to come up to you, then use Unrelenting Force to propel him away, then you can go around to the Temple of Mara's entry way and he should be around there and you can loot his body for the key.
- There is a Persuasion check to tell him that Mercer needs him in Markarth if you first try to bribe him. (Passed check with 53 speech and Persuasion perk on Adept difficulty on version 1.3.10) He will say what a nice person you are to watch the house for him and hand you the key and leave out the back gate.
Once you have done any of the above, you will find yourself in the backyard. Shoot the mechanism (or Unrelenting Force) to lower the ramp. A marker will show you where to shoot if you give Vald his debt, if you chose another route it is underneath the balcony on the far left. This can be done with unrelenting force which is far easier than using arrows. Make your way up to the balcony and enter the house using your key.
Discover Evidence of Mercer's Location
- If you followed the walkthrough from the previous objective, you should find yourself on the second floor. There are bandits in the house so you will need to be quiet.
- Open the first door and you will see a Leveled Bandit with her back to you, make your way down the stairs.
- Go to the only unbarred door on that floor and up to the wardrobe at the back-left of the room. When you open it, you will notice a false back panel that you can open and make your way through into another room. Head left and down the stairs and then out the back of the room into a set of tunnels.
- After your first left, be careful, there is a room with fire traps. These traps are marked with black diamond shapes marked on them and avoid them to make your way around. As you make your way out the room, watch for the pressure plate around the next corner on the right as it sets off arrows.
- Don't miss the chest down the hallway to the right after you pass said pressure plate.
- Blades and a ram will start swinging that you will need to make your way past after you check said chest, time it right and you should be okay (you could use Whirlwind Sprint if you have unlocked it).
- Make your way down the tunnel and there will be a door. Be careful, as this door is booby-trapped. At the bottom left of the door, you will see the trap trigger, it has an expert lock so if you are not up to it, hug the iron gate to your left and open it to avoid the poison arrows. Once inside you will find a map of Mercer's plans on the table in front of you. Take it to complete the objective.
Things of note:
- In the Chillrend Display Cabinet (expert lock) there is the unique glass sword called Chillrend. (25 points frost damage, chance to paralyze taget for 2 seconds)
- The Red Kitchen Reader book will increase your sneak skill.
- The Bust of the Gray Fox can be taken back to Delvin.
- There is a bowl with precious gems in it next to the plans on the left side of the table.
Speak to Brynjolf
Journal Entry: I've discovered some plans in Riftweald Manor. This must be where Mercer Frey is headed. I should bring these the [sic] Brynjolf as soon as possible.
Either head back through the house (you can unbarricade one of the doors to get out), or head into the ratway vaults down the tunnel next to the room where you got the plans and make your way back to the Ragged Flagon. Speak to Brynjolf to complete the quest.
Shoot the Mechanism to Lower the Ramp (Optional)
After getting the Infiltrate Mercer's House objective, if you speak to Brynjolf about how to get into the estate, he will tell you about a quick escape ramp that Mercer has in his backyard leading up to the balcony on the second floor. The ramp can be lowered by shooting a mechanism under the balcony with either an arrow or the shout Unrelenting Force or a ranged destruction spell.
Speak to Vex about Vald (Optional)
After getting the Infiltrate Mercer's House objective, you can speak to Brynjolf and ask him about the watchdog that he mentioned earlier. He will tell you about a man named Vald who was hired by Mercer to watch over his estate. He mentions that Vex used to know Vald very well and to speak to her for more information. Upon speaking to Vex, she tells you that Vald only understand one thing, gold and that you can either buy him off or get rid of his debt that he owes to Maven Black-Briar, this unlocks another optional objective.
Talk to Maven About Vald's Debt (Optional)
A follow-on from the above optional objective. This objective does not appear as part of the "The Pursuit" quest and can be found in miscellaneous. Once you have found her, ask her about the debt and she will tell you about the Quill of Gemination which Vald was supposed to get for her years ago, but instead ended up at the bottom of Lake Honrich. She asks you to go get it for her.
Locate the Quill of Gemination Under Lake Honrich (Optional)
This quest does not have a marker so you will need to look for the quill yourself. Lake Honrich is the lake right next to Riften. Head outside to the docks and find the large boat anchored there. You should be able to see another large boat to the west of it. Swim underwater between these two boats until you see the bow of a small boat stuck in the ground underwater.
You will find Vald's Strongbox located there. The strongbox has a leveled lock that you will need to pick, and inside you will find the Quill of Gemination and a random amount of gold.
Bring the Quill of Gemination to Maven (Optional)
Once you have brought the Quill of Gemination back to Maven, she will give you a book called Vald's Debt that releases Vald from his debt but tells you she never wants to see him in Riften again. In order to give it to him, you must go to the back gate and wait until he is near enough to speak with. Picking the lock and stepping into the yard will cause Vald to become hostile and attack you. Wait outside the entryway for him to come over so you can speak to him. Note that if he does become hostile, casting Calm on him pacifies him and allows you to speak with him. Give him Vald's Debt and he'll give you the key to Mercer's house.
- If you entered Mercer's house and looted Mercer's Plans before completing the quest Hard Answers, this quest will not initiate upon completion of the quest Hard Answers. This can be fixed (on the PC) by resetting the quest Hard Answers to the last stage with the command [setstage TG06 70], dropping the item Mercer's Plans from your (Misc) inventory, and then talking to Karliah and completing the quest again. Do not pick up Mercer's Plans from wherever you dropped them until the quest The Pursuit is on the stage: Discover evidence of Mercer's location. (i.e. after you break into his house, simply leave and go pick back up Mercer's Plans)
- If you looted Mercer's Plans previously and accidentally picked them back up after The Pursuit becomes active, the quest becomes stuck, as you cannot drop the item from your inventory and Brynjolf will refuse to acknowledge that you have them. (Try to avoid this scenario if not on the PC). On the PC, use the command [setstage TG07 60] to fix the quest. Then, talk to Brynjolf as you normally would and the he'll recognize that you have Mercer's Plans.
- There is a bug where the quest will become incompletable due to Karliah not moving. If you try to talk to her, she will not enter a dialogue screen, but simply say "Quickly, what is it?" This isn't fixed by attacking her, or knocking her unconcious. However, if you go back to the museum in Markarth, it will start the quest over. So you just have to go get the tracing again.
- After paying off Vald's debt (Or ocassionally before you even talk to him), sometimes you cannot talk to him again. When approaching the gate, Vald attempts to attack. You can try reloading a previous save, drop Vald's Debt from Maven and pick it back up (Which should fix the problem), hit him with a calming spell (Even the lowest should work) or you can get a guard to kill Vald if you do not wish to kill him yourself and continue with the rest of the quest.