Elder Scrolls

The Whispering Door

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The Whispering Door
TESV 2011-11-22 21-29-06-71
Quest Giver Hulda
Location The Bannered Mare
Prerequisite Completed Dragon Rising
Level 20
Reward Ebony Blade
Type Daedric Quest
Quest ID DA08
The Whispering Door is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


Balgruuf the Greater, Jarl of Whiterun, has a troubled child. He's asked me to help the boy.


The Dragonborn must be at least level 20 and must have finished the main quest Dragon Rising to receive this quest.

After hearing a rumor at the Bannered Mare, and only the Bannered Mare, talk to Jarl Balgruuf in Dragonsreach (if you sided with the Stormcloaks in the Civil War, he is in the basement of the Blue Palace). He reveals he is having problems with his youngest son, Nelkir, who has taken a sudden dark turn in his personality. After a series of disrespectful words and a few dirty secrets of Balgruuf's, Nelkir tells the Dragonborn how the Whispering Lady tells him secrets and he directs you to the locked door in the basement (the 'Old Wooden Door' or 'The Whispering Door').

Once there, a voice tells you that you are more worthy and orders you to open the door. In order to find who has the keys, you must talk to Nelkir again. He says only Farengar Secret-Fire and Jarl Balgruuf carry the key because of the war causing all of Whiterun to experience a severe case of paranoia.

  • You can pickpocket Farengar through the map board in the side room.
  • Waiting for either Jarl Balgruuf or Farengar Secret-Fire to go to sleep allows you to pickpocket them without worry as long as you are hidden.
  • You can wait for Farengar to go to sleep, then kill him and take the key from his corpse.
  • If your Pickpocket skill is very low, you can either use a Paralyze spell, or Vampire's Seduction—if accessible—to pickpocket the key with little effort.

After acquiring the key and unlocking the door, the voice is revealed to be that of Mephala, who instructs you to take the Ebony Blade, which is next to a book warning of its corrupting evil.

This quest is completed at this point, but Mephala tells you the Ebony Blade does not match its legendary description, and has fallen to a lesser form due to its aging without use. In order to restore its former strength, it must taste the "Blood of Deceit". For the blade to do this, you must kill someone who trusts you: a person that you did a quest for, or a follower. You can identify people who trust you based on what they say in your presence. They may say something like "It is a fine day with you around", or "You've been a good friend to me. That means something", but it is far easier to simply use a follower. Considering this, you may want to use the Ebony Blade in the quest Boethiah's Calling, The Taste of Death, or Lights Out!

On the PC version of Skyrim, it is possible to resurrect killed followers or friends using console commands, allowing you to kill the same people repeatedly while reaching the Ebony Blade's full power.

  • One way is to find a beggar, give them a coin, receive the Gift of Charity, then kill them.
  • Alternatively, you can complete all thane tasks, receive all of the housecarls, then kill them throughout your own households.
  • Another, simpler way is to acquire the Dead Thrall spell tome (random loot or purchased from Phinis Gestor) gather a follower and take him/her to an isolated spot. Raise him and kill him repeatedly. This should minimize collateral damage and still raise the blade's powers.


Journal Entry
  • Objective: Ask about Balgruuf's strange children.

Balgruuf the Greater, Jarl of Whiterun, has a troubled child. He's asked me to help the boy.

  • Objective: Find out what's wrong with Nelkir
  • Objective: Listen to the whispering door

Mephala, the Lady of Whispers, has tasked me with releasing the Ebony Blade from its prison.

  • Objective: Speak to Nelkir
  • Objective: Obtain the key to the whispering door
  • Objective: Open the whispering door
  • Objective: Retrieve the Ebony Blade

I have received Mephala's Ebony Blade, but it lacks its legendary powers. To restore it, I must use it to slay those who are close to me.

  • Quest complete


  • When inspecting the quest of The Whispering Door more thoroughly with help of the Creation Kit, it is revealed that the quest was intended to be far more dark and elaborate. Unused scripts and packages hold references to all of Balgruuf's children having been intended to fall under the manipulation of Mephala.
  • One unused script named SF_DA08 Frothar Kills Horse Scene, shows that Frothar was meant to kill a black horse at the stables named Karinda, (currently an unused horse NPC). An accompanying script is named SF_DA08 Frothar Listens To Ebony B, referencing to Frothar falling under the control of Mephala much like Nelkir has, meant to occur at one point during the quest, with Ebony B standing for the Ebony Blade through which Mephala makes her voice heard.
  • Another script is titled SF_DA08 Children Kill The Jarl Scene, where Balgruuf's children were meant to gather at an undefined waypoint in secret, to commit patricide (possibly with the Dragonborn's aid as the script calls for removing Balgruuf's essential state) against their own father. An accompanying interaction package is named DA08 Balgruuf Wait To Die In Scene where Balgruuf is present at an undefined place as to be murdered.
  • Upon Balgruuf's death, Hrongar was meant to replace Balgruuf as Jarl. Attached to his NPC is a lot of unused dialogue parallel to that of Balgruuf, meant to be used in the civil war quests and main quests. The dialogue varies from that of Balgruuf in that Hrongar takes a more aggressive approach towards the problems at hand.
  • If you start the quest and leave it, and then do the March on Whiterun quest, Balgruuf will no longer be Jarl and the quest may be lost.
  • If you obtain the blade beforehand by glitching through the wall and picking up the sword when doing the quest, you will be unable to complete "retrieve the Ebony Blade" as the sword cannot be dropped and picked up again.
    • The blade can be placed on a weapon rack. Doing so enables the Dragonborn to "retrieve the Ebony Blade" , thus completing the quest.
  • The keys to The Whispering Door do not spawn until after you talk to Nelkir the second time.
  • Despite Farengar being allegedly aware of the Blade, you can actually sell it to him.
  • If the console command "unlock" is used on the whispering door, there is a cupboard behind the door that cannot be opened, and blocks entrance to the room without further usage of the developer console.
    • Upon further inspection, this cupboard is a placeholder for the Lady's voice.


This section contains bugs related to The Whispering Door. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , and  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.

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