The Ultimate Heist is a quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The final piece the Gray Fox needs to complete his unrevealed grand scheme is an Elder Scroll from the Imperial City Palace. To start, he will give the Hero the Boots of Springheel Jak, which he believes will be needed at some point. He will also give the Hero the Arrow of Extrication, which supposedly should unlock something.
As preparation, it is recommended bring a bow, torches, a few arrows and plenty of lockpicks. The Skeleton Key, received from Nocturnal, is also very useful to have if already acquired. If the Hero is a bowman, make sure to also bring silver arrows, and leave behind the least needed items if one wishes.
First, go to the Imperial City Palace in the Imperial City. Head inside, make a left and pick the lock on the door to the Palace Basement. Once inside, walk a few feet, turn right, and head to the other end of the room (north side); watch out for a patrolling guard. Activate the giant hourglass, the Glass of Time to unlock the 'Old Way' escape tunnel. This step is optional, due to a game glitch that will allow the Hero to enter the sewers regardless, however the map will not update unless the hero activates the Glass of Time.
Then, go back the way you came and head to the Arboretum and continue to the northeastern gate. A grate on the ground by a tree is the entrance to the South East Tunnels. Inside, go on to the Beneath the Bloodworks area.
Beware of vampires throughout this area, as well as several other creatures. If you contract Porphyric Hemophilia, seek a cure immediately, using a cure disease potion or pray at a city chapel. Once arriving at a set of stairs stairs, make a right, continue to go straight, and then find the a door on the left. Open the gates with nearby turn wheels to get to the Imperial Palace Sewers.
Once inside the Sewers, cross the bridge and head down the stairs. Watch out for the Wraiths in this area. Go through the northwest hall and the Hero will come to a large circular room with a pool of water. Go through the hallway to the next room, then go through the next hallway and through the gate. Head through the Strange Door to the Old Way, using the Glass of Time.
The Old WayEdit
In the Old Way, watch the ground carefully for traps. The ruins are populated with leveled undead. Go down the hall, then make a left and go through the door into another room called Old Way. Be cautious, as more enemies will appear, mostly skeletal and Ethereal Undead. Slay then and make way through the rooms and corridors, then go towards and enter The Lost Catacombs. If it is difficult to find, look for the hole in the wall, climb through and there will be two zombies.
Again, fight or sneak through; there is only one way to go. Head north, then east through a large area with a few enemies in the lighted center, then north again. When arriving at two tunnels, take the right one. Follow it through to reach a large elvish-origin room. Use the Springheel Jak Boots to get on the ledge, which will activate the switches to open the first gate. Continue ahead and go through the door to the Hall of Epochs.
Inside the Hall of Epochs, go straight up the steps to the three statues. There will be a message that the Hero will need to find the keyhole. Go around back to the large walls, which are similar looking to pillars, to get a message needed to lower the walls. Face south and head through the gate, then press the button found there. Then, continue until another room named the Hall of Epochs is reached.
In the room, push the button to open the secret wall to the south east. In the last chamber, where there are two catacomb rooms on each side, there will be a chest and a button above it. Press it, then head back to the large room with the statues.
Once the big walls are down, fight the two zombies who will appear. Afterwords, stand on the square on the small bridge, looking straight across at the big center statue a hole to shoot arrows through (the keyhole). Aim directly at the statue's nose for a perfect bulls-eye. However, it is recommended to practice with a few regular arrows first.
When hitting the hole with an arrow, a loud "thunk" sound will be heard, marking a hit. It is recommended to save first before shooting the Arrow of Extrication in through the keyhole.
Once the Hero approaches the door, the two statues will come alive and will become aggressive if interacted with. Defeat them, then sneak through the door back to the palace. It is recommended to save your game at this point.
The Hero will end up in the Imperial Palace Guard Room, where four guards are sleeping regardless of the time of day. They will awaken immediately and automatically change into full armor, even with a Sneak level over 100. There are several ways to handle this: use chameleon spells/potions, invisibility spells/potions (however, the effect will wear off the moment you interact with anything - including opening doors), or kill the Palace Guards and earn a bounty. Using frenzy or summoning spells on the guards will help level the playing field for the hero, as an additional guard will run in from the hall, presumably due to the sound of combat, so the hero will have to battle five simultaneously.
Sneak out and make a right into the Library, following the pathway up (the left door goes to the Elder Council Chambers and requires a key). Sneak forward to reach a door to the library on the left. Pick the lock on the door, enter and make a right, then follow the hallway. Pull the lever behind the blind priest, and go back around to the front of the priest gate and into the library.
Sit on the chair. Beware, if the Hero tries to talk to the blind priests, they will raise the alarm and will have to escape the palace without the scroll. It is advisable to save frequently, as failure will require a replay through the entire quest.
A Blind Priest will come down and give the Hero the Elder Scroll. Do not talk to any of the priests, as they will not give over the scroll and the quest can't be finished. Look far enough around to bring up the cross hair and activate it so the Hero can read and then take the Elder Scroll.
Save at this point: PS3 users may encounter a quest-breaking bug during the next steps.
Sneak up the stairs. The priests may not notice, even if the Hero is directly in front of them. Pick the lock, then make a left and pick another lock, leading into the Moth Priest’s Chambers. Go around and pick the lock to the Imperial Battlemage’s Chambers. It may seem advisable to look around and loot if one desires, as the Hero won't be able to go back here again.
There, the Hero might run into Evangeline Beanique wearing a red velvet blouse and pants. She is a member of the Mages Guild; pickpocketing her may result in expulsion if the Hero is a member and is caught. The bloodprice will be taken off by the Gray Fox. Pick the lock into the bedroom, and make sure to wear the Boots of Springheel Jak to better handle the upcoming falls.
Go to the fireplace and escape through there, then fall to the Old Way. Some guides mention getting arrested as the easy way out. Do not get arrested. This can cause a quest-breaking glitch, causing the quest not to update past the point of being discovered. Regardless, the Hero can keep the boots of Springheel Jak (high agility required). Alternatively, an extremely high acrobatics skill will make the falling damage tolerable (potions, spells, and scrolls to increase acrobatics are all very helpful. Any gear besides the Boots that can increase acrobatics also works, but be sure to save before you try this method).
Once fallen down, return to the Gray Fox with the Scroll. He will ask the Hero of one last favor before the reward: take a Wedding Ring to Countess Millona Umbranox in Anvil and gauge her reaction. If she asks who it is from, respond by saying it is from a stranger who wants them to have it.
Revelation at Castle AnvilEdit
Head to Castle Anvil and give the wedding ring to her. She will discover that it is her husband’s ring and that she deeply misses him. The Stranger will walk up, and will turn into the Gray Fox. He will take off his mask, and reveal that he is Count Corvus Umbranox, her long-lost husband.
He wore the mask ten years ago when it was inherited from the former Thieves Guild guildmaster, and lost his identity for that decade. Corvus will then renounce his life of thievery, and name the Hero the new guildmaster, giving them the no longer cursed Gray Cowl of Nocturnal. Wearing it in public will cause guards to attack, however, others will not recognize that they are the Gray Fox if the mask is removed in front of them.
Corvus also reveals that Emer Dareloth is the true thief of Nocturnal's cowl. History, having been altered by the magic of the Cowl, now allows the Thieves Guild to have formed a guildhall at the ruins of Dareloth's house at the Imperial City Waterfront, where the Hero first met Armand.
Amusei has given me another message from the Gray Fox. I am to meet him at Othrelo's house in the Elven Gardens district in the Imperial City.
The Gray Fox intends to steal one of the Elder Scrolls from the Imperial Palace. The audacity of such a theft is astounding! The Gray Fox has laid out the plan for me. It's not simple, but he has given me a written copy for my reference. He has even set aside the guild rule of blood price for this heist. Now I just have to execute the plan. The first step is to infiltrate the Imperial Palace and activate the Glass of Time, whatever that is.
I have activated the Glass of Time. According to the Gray Fox, the door to the Old Way in the Imperials Sewers should now be open. Now I just have to find it.
I have found the sewer entrance that the Gray Fox told me to look for. Now I need to find the Old Way.
I have found the Old Way. This is clearly a long abandoned sub-basement of the Imperial City. It looks like it's going to be a long journey to get into the Imperial Palace this way. I need to find the door that connects to the palace interior. If I remember correctly, I will need the the Arrow Extrication to unlock time in order to open that door.
There must be some secret way to open this door. I'll bet this is where I have to use the Arrow of Extrication. Most likely I have to be standing in a special place for the keyhole to open up. It will be somewhere with a clear view of this pillar.
These walls look like they are meant to move. Maybe the place I need to stand to fire the arrow is behind them. I'd better look for a way to get through them.
This must be the spot. Standing on this pressure plate opens the pedestal at the far end of the room. I should practice with normal arrows a few times before trying the Arrow of Extrication. I will only get one try.
I've used the Arrow of Extrication to activate the door and open the secret way into the palace. There is no telling where I might end up. I should take care to extinguish my lights, muffle my footsteps, and be stealthy as I enter the door.
I've seated myself in the reading chair. Now I just have to wait for them to bring me the scroll. So long as I don't speak to any of them, the priests seem to be assuming I am Celia Camoran.
I have the Elder Scroll! This is the treasure of the century. My name shall be known across Tamriel for this theft! Now to get it back to the Gray Fox. The way back is blocked. I'll have to go upstairs to find a way out. Even through they are blind, these monks will not be easy to sneak past.
I have escaped from the Imperial Palace by jumping down a chimney chute in Ocato's bedroom. I hope the royal battlemage won't mind my misusing his ash flue. I can only hope my fall doesn't end too abruptly. I wonder if this is what the Gray Fox said I would need the Boots of Springheel Jak for?
The Gray Fox has yet to pay me for stealing the Elder Scroll from the Imperial Palace. To get my reward, I have to present a ring to Millona Umbranox, the Countess of Anvil, and gauge her reaction to it. I don't understand what this has to do with the Elder Scroll, but for now I'll trust him.
The Gray Fox, who is no longer the Gray Fox, but is now Corvus Umbranox, has given me the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal. I am now the new Gray Fox and the new guildmaster of the Thieves Guild. Due to the magic of the cowl, the Thieves of the guild will not notice the change. However, since the curse is lifted, I can remove the cowl and be recognized as myself again. Interestingly, the cowl's magic makes it so that anyone seeing me remove the cowl does not associate me with the Gray Fox.
History has been rewritten. I should go see the new Thieves Guild Hall in the Imperial City Waterfront. The Gray Fox, or Count Corvus as he is now known, told me that I get to run the place.
Keeping the Boots of Springheel JakEdit
- When jumping down the chute, do not wear the Boots of Springheel Jak. Wearing the boots while dropping down will destroy them, which will remove them from the inventory. Having full health or drinking a fortify endurance potion may prevent dying. High Agility, Acrobatics, and Fortify Health potions will also help as well.
- Another way of falling without destroying them to empty the inventory. That way the Hero will have more to fall on without dying. Then, pick everything back up and continue.
- Another way to keep the Springheel Jak boots is to equip any bow and any amount of Dremora Field Arrows before jumping. After jumping, they should still lose the boots; however, if the Hero shoots the very next guard that appears with the Dremora arrows (killing the guard or not) the boots will reappear back inside the inventory.
Another way to keep them is to not wear them, and on the way down the chute hold the walk forward command. They will land instead on a platform that is raised about three stone blocks above the lowest part of the floor. The Hero will lose health but likely not die. Make sure that they are sneaking before falling, that way they land immediately into the sneaking position again.
- This will not work on the or the version of the game, as it will not allow them to drop items while they're in the air.
- Keeping the boots and the arrow keeps them in the inventory as 'quest' items. For PC-players: use the console to type: Player.RemoveItem 00022DB5.
- Even after the quest is finished, the Boots, as well as the scroll containing the Plan for the Big Heist, will still be considered quest items, preventing the Hero from dropping them. Although they have no weight, some may find the extra items slightly annoying, and will have to resort to the Console to remove it. Xbox 360 and PS3 players currently have no way to remove lingering quest items such as these.
This section contains bugs related to The Ultimate Heist. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- A bug can occur if the Hero picks up the Arrow of Extrication after hitting the keyhole. If picked up, it may remain in the inventory as a Quest Item.
- It may be impossible to stand up after sitting down in the chair in the library. The monks will continue to attack, however the Hero will be unable to defend themselves. Reload your last save to fix this.
- Solution: As soon as you sit down go into sneak mode.
- After this quest, the Hero cannot sit down on any chairs, stools, etc. When a chair is activated, the Hero will stand and not be able to move. The only way to fix this is to reload to a previous save, or let an enemy attack and hope to knock them down.
- A bug will occur at the Statue with the keyhole. If the shot is missed, the Arrow will need to be recovered. Upon returning, the arrow will be unusable, and the message "you cannot fire this Quest arrow" will appear, making shooting again impossible. Reloading to a save from before the arrow was fired does not reset the glitch. Reloading the autosave from the very start of the Sewers does, however.
- If the Hero is a Vampire over 75, then the Countess will not talk to you until you feed.
- Amusei will not deliver the message in Elven Gardens District. Go to the Green Emperor Way in the Imperial city and try waiting there to find him.
The two large walls in the room with the statue will not lower, thus making it impossible to finish the quest. However, running back and pressing the button that lowers the walls again may solve this issue. It may need to be repeated more than once until all the walls come down, or at least so the Hero can reach the center pressure plate. The walls may be down only partially but the gates in the center may still have opened.
- Solution: Use the Boots of Springheel Jak to climb your way around the gates. This will require some precision jumping onto the ridges on the spires next to the gates, but you can reach the pressure plate this way.
- When the Hero arrives in Castle Anvil, the countess may not in the throne room. Waiting until anytime between 9am and 10am is not advised, however. If this is done and the Hero tries talking to the countess, the game will freeze.
- If the Hero attacks someone in the palace, the quest log will be to get out asap even without the Elder Scroll. This is not advised, as it will result in the Hero not being able to complete the quest, and the Gray Fox will tell them to leave him until they get the scroll.
- If the Hero fails to get the scroll, then waits 24 hours after a save while being on the pressure plate is reloaded, the arrow will be missing and cannot be found. Then, the quest must be restarted to finish it.
- While escaping from the Imperial Tower, a quest-breaking bug will occur if the Hero tries to surrender to the guards. Whether paying the fine or serving jail time, the quest will not update, and will direct the Hero back to the Imperial Palace to find a way out of the tower. Additionally, the Gray Fox will not spawn at Othrelos' House, making the bug impossible to patch. The only solution is to reload the game from a save file prior to being discovered.
- If the Hero fences too much gold prior to finishing the quest The Boots of Springheel Jak, they may not get a quest update for Independent Thievery, making the Thieves Guild questline impossible to finish.
If the Hero keeps the Boots of Springheel Jak and instead uses a high acrobatics and agility to avoid dying when jumping down the chute, the game will not allow them to land completely. They will take fall damage, but be unable to move as they are still considered to be in the air, and the falling animation plays indefinitely.
- To fix this, they player must jump repeatedly until they land, however, if the player jumps again the bug will likely occur again, and is fixed the same way. The bug may occur whenever the player jumps, which is a source of much irritation, as it can impede the game becoming stuck whenever the player jumps. Jumping off a high place will still result in death, even when wearing the Boots.
- The bug persists if the player passes through a door, it also does not prevent the player from fast traveling.
- Sometimes, if the player jumps they may still move while playing the falling animation. If they jumps while standing still, their movement speed is considerably slows, if they jumped while moving, their speed is unaffected, just as if they were jumping normally. If the player bumps into uneven terrain, such as steps or a rock, they land.
- The bug seems to consider the player both simultaneously in the air, as well as on the ground, as it affects the players movement the same way as if they were in the air, yet also persists through doors and allows fast travel, unlike a player that is in the air.
- Reloading a previous save and using the boots to survive the fall fixes this bug.
- Sometimes, the button to open the passageway to where the player must go to move the walls may not work, making it impossible to reach that part of the dungeon and thus to remove the walls and the gates.
- Solution: Use the Boots of Springheel Jak to climb your way around the walls and the gates. This will require some precision jumping onto the ridges on the spires next to the gates, but you can reach the pressure plate this way.