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- Walk up to the cell door and speak with Valen Dreth, a fellow prisoner.
- Follow the secret escape route through the sewers.
- Meet back with the Emperor and continue to follow him.
- Take the Amulet of Kings and exit the sewers.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion begins with a prisoner in a cell of the Imperial Prison, with no worldly possessions and wearing no more than rags. Upon approaching the cell door, a Dunmer in the opposite cell, Valen Dreth, insults the prisoner; what he says varies depending on the selected race and gender.
Soon, Emperor Uriel Septim VII arrives, escorted by three Blades. He remarks that he saw the prisoner in his dreams, and orders his Blades not to hurt the prisoner, allowing them to follow. A secret passage in the cell opens; follow them inside. Even when they tell the prisoner to stay put, they are able to follow them through most sections of the sewer; they won't attack except in self-defense.
Several Mythic Dawn Agents ambush the party. Depending on the difficulty level, the assassins may be quite strong in contrast to the party, but generally they do not target the prisoner specifically. It is best to stick to using the Flare, until Captain Renault is killed. Once Renault is dead, grab her katana.
The Blades soon force the prisoner to stay behind by locking the door behind them. Off to the right, a section of the wall crumbles and two rats come through. Kill them and proceed through the broken wall. Through the cave, the prisoner encounters a few more rats. To the left, there will be a dead skeleton with a few arrows, Leather armor, a bow, and some lockpicks. There may be random precious gems hiding in the area around the bones. Also there will be a barrel, a chest and a crate each with some weapons and lockpicks. Towards the exit there is a dead Goblin Shaman with some magic scrolls and the key to the door.
In the next room there is another rat that should be easily disposed of and a chest with a weak potion of sorcery and iron armor. Through the next little path, there are rats and a single zombie. The zombie should deal with the rats. Just proceed through the next few rooms until arriving at the door to the last area. Would-be alchemists might want to collect the fungi scattered throughout the dungeon.
Follow the path down until the goblin is reached. Sneak and Marksman are useful here. Kill the goblin and find some ingredients and a mortar and pestle. Mix them together to make a poison, useful for the next few rooms. Keep going until reaching the big room. The Goblin Shaman carries a a unique staff, which can be used or sold later.
Exiting the cave system, the prisoner finds themselves on a ledge above the ground and sees the Emperor walking with his guards. As they approach the ledge, they are ambushed by a few more Mythic Dawn agents. After the agents are dead and the prisoner climbs down from the ledge, the Blades draw their swords, contemplating killing the prisoner. The Emperor insists he or she is trustworthy and should be allowed to follow. At this point, the Emperor asks which birthsign the prisoner was born under. These signs grant different bonuses. The sign can be changed again at the end of the quest, if the wrong one is picked. Follow them through several chambers, fighting more assassins and finally reaching a dead end. When the Blades realize that they have been led into a trap, they instruct the prisoner to stay with the Emperor while they go kill off the assassins. The Emperor can go no further and hands over the Amulet of Kings to take to Jauffre. After he has his say, a secret door opens up behind him and an assassin cuts him down. The prisoner is unable to move until the Emperor has slumped to the floor. This assassin is somewhat tougher than the others previously encountered, but Baurus comes in to make short work of him after he's finished in the other room. When everyone is dead, Baurus gives the key to the Imperial Prison Sewers. He also helps with class selection. Like the birthsign, this can be changed at the end of the quest.
Go through the secret passage and open a grate to the sewers. The sewers are filled with rats and goblins. None of these should present a challenge. Off to the right, in the main room, there are six Cheese Wheels and six sacks of flour—excellent for alchemy.
After navigating the sewer, a grate is encountered. This is the final chance to modify race, class, and/or birthsign. These cannot be altered after leaving the sewers. Afterwards, activate the gate and choose: "Finished-Exit Sewers."
- Upon the first ambush, Captain Renault will be killed, and will drop an Akaviri Katana. This is a much better weapon than anything else found during this quest; picking it up is advisable. Glenroy also drops one when he dies. The katanas are returned to Baurus after class selection to be put on display at Cloud Ruler Temple. Returning them nets a +1 in Blade, Block, and Heavy Armor when Cloud Ruler Temple is first reached. More katanas can be also received during that time.
- All characters begin with a basic fire spell and healing spell.
- It is wise to make a separate save before leaving the prison gate in the sewers. If the player desires a new game, this allows for quick character creation without playing through the tutorial.
- After choosing a birthsign, Baurus gives a free torch. Baurus will not give a torch to the Hero if one is already equipped when dialogue is started.
- Before the Emperor arrives at the prison cell, players can sneak around, gaining experience. This is because Valen Dreth is very close by.
- It is possible, if the player is fast enough, to speak with all of the Mythic Dawn Assassins (except for one who kills Uriel) within the first few seconds of their spawning. The only available topics for them are rumors, but this can also be used to level up the speechcraft skill.
- There is a glitch where the emperor can survive by standing in front of him when the assassin comes out. Instead of hitting the emperor he hits you the game thinks the emperor has died and then continues normally.
- When the first goblin is encountered, he is around a corner. Tying a short rubber band in real life around the controller's joysticks (Xbox or PS3) will pull them together, making the character spin around. If sneaking, the player can power-level this skill without actually doing anything.
- Valen Dreth insults every race except Dunmer.