|To Kill an Empire|
|Prerequisite||Recipe for Disaster|
|Next Quest||Death Incarnate|
To Kill an Empire is a quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In the final act of a grand plot to assassinate Emperor Titus Mede II, the Dragonborn is sent to impersonate the Emperor's chef, and serve him a meal to die for.
With all the pieces finally in place, Astrid prepares the Dragonborn for the honor of assassinating the Emperor. She tells them to head to Castle Dour in Solitude and present the Gourmet’s Writ of Passage to the officer in charge, Commander Maro. The Dragonborn is to prepare a special meal for the Emperor using a secret ingredient: Jarrin Root, which contains a deadly poison.
Impersonating the ChefEdit
Once inside, head to the castle chef, Gianna. She will accept the Dragonborn's claim to being The Gourmet, but will not allow them to cook without a Chef's Hat, which can be found on a shelf nearby. She has already prepared the broth, and will ask what ingredients to add. It doesn't matter what ingredients, if any, are suggested. Eventually, there will be an option to add the Jarrin Root, or leave it out. Either way, Gianna will finish the dish and carry it up to the Emperor.
The Emperor's Last MealEdit
If the root was added, the Emperor will drop dead shortly after tasting the meal. The guards will immediately suspect the cooks of poisoning him, and will become hostile. With a high enough Sneak skill, hiding as the Emperor is eating the meal can prevent detection from the guards. There is also no need to watch the event as it happens, so it's much safer to slip into the next room and enter sneak mode there. Once the Emperor is dead, escape through the back door as instructed.
If the root was not added, the Emperor will suffer no ill effects. The Dragonborn must then kill the Emperor personally to complete the quest. It is much more difficult to remain undetected using this method, as the Emperor is in a very narrow, crowded room, with few safe vantage points for ranged attacks and even fewer for melee. Invisibility is helpful here. Alternatively, since the Emperor is completely unarmed and unprotected, he is extremely easy to kill with straightforward attacks. This will turn the guards hostile, but will not in itself add a bounty.
While escaping across the bridge, the Dragonborn will be stopped by three Penitus Oculatus Agents, along with Maro. He'll explain that the man who was just assassinated was a decoy. He goes on to explain that someone within the Dark Brotherhood made a deal to let him capture the Dragonborn, and in return, he would retract all aggression against the Dark Brotherhood. However, he intends to break the deal, killing the Dragonborn and assaulting the Sanctuary.
Regardless of how the Emperor was killed or whether the Dragonborn was detected, a 1,500 bounty will be placed on them once Maro finishes his speech, and the soldiers will attack. Deal with or ignore them, and head to the Sanctuary. Note that it's much easier to escape Solitude by continuing down the spiral staircase past the first landing, since it leads directly to the world map. Fast travel, however, may be impossible while near Solitude with such a high bounty, so if necessary, remove it or continue on foot.
Sanctuary Under SiegeEdit
By the time the Dragonborn arrives, the Sanctuary is already under attack by Maro's men. This quest will then be completed, and the next quest, Death Incarnate, will begin.
- The stew's name, Potage Le Magnifique, is French for "the magnificent soup."
- Commander Maro will make a different remark after being shown the Writ depending on the Dragonborn's outfit; if wearing a Chef's Hat and Chef's Tunic, he will say that he should have known who they were by the outfit. Otherwise, he says that they aren't dressed as he expected.
- When first met, Gianna says something different depending on the Dragonborn's race.
- If they are Bosmer, she expresses delight in "guessing right." For any other race, she is surprised and disappointed.
- If they are Breton, she says that it seems "too obvious" due to the strong history of Breton chefs.
- If they are Khajiit, she asks if "all the fur getting into the food" is a problem.
- If any other race, especially Orsimer, she is surprised and disappointed.
- Before being confronted by Maro on the bridge, using the Whirlwind Sprint Shout just before he appears allows the Dragonborn to move freely while he talks. Attacking the guards before they turn hostile normally will cause Maro to vanish, and the guards will attack as normal.
- After the conversation with Maro, the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary will disappear from the map as a fast travel destination. It will be re-added when the Dragonborn approaches it again.
- The three Penitus Oculatus Agents respawn after being killed, and will be hostile, but cannot move or attack. They will prevent waiting and fast traveling, but killing them has no penalties.
- After preparing the poisoned stew and giving it to the Emperor, he may not die.
No matter how far the Dragonborn runs from Solitude, attempting to fast travel always gives the message, "You can't fast travel when guards are pursuing you." Reloading does not fix this. This can happen if attempting to flee without killing any of the guards or Penitus Oculatus, or killing them all.
- This can be fixed by entering a cave and leaving. Guards will appear at the entrance and the "Pay your fines or go to jail" routine will begin.
- Another way to fix it is to kill a guard in any town and "Pay your fines or go to jail."
- Approaching a Solitude guard and getting arrested will remove the bounty, and the guards will stop pursuing the Dragonborn.
- Sleeping also fixes it.
- After killing the Emperor, the backdoor used to escape may be locked and require a key, making it impossible to exit that way.
- Sometimes, when the Dragonborn doesn't follow Gianna after making the stew, the Emperor will become stuck in dialog; Gianna will repeat the words "I'm so nervous" and the Emperor will not die. The Dragonborn will be forced to kill him directly.
- If a follower is told to wait outside the Sanctuary, they won't be there when the Dragonborn returns after killing the Emperor.
- Vampire Lord during the Maro confrontation, the game will freeze. If the Dragonborn transforms into a
- When approaching Gianna and talk to her, she may stop the conversation at "It's just..." This is likely caused by the Dragonborn being a vampire (in which case it can be fixed by curing the disease), or using custom races added by mods on the PC. This is because Gianna makes a specific comment at this point about the Dragonborn's race, and these races have no dialog, preventing the conversation from continuing.
- Gianna may say that she expected the the Gourmet to be a Wood Elf, even if the Dragonborn is indeed a Bosmer.