The Elder Scrolls 5 - Skyrim - The Dark Brotherhood Quests


Innocence Lost stems from a rumor heard by the innkeeper of Sleeping Giant Inn at Riverwood or any other inn about a child in Windhelm performing the black sacrament. You are sent to speak with Aventus Aretino in Windhelm and discover that he's up to more than just childish shenanigans. Aventus will think that you are part of the Dark Brotherhood and send you to kill Grelod The "Kind". You'll receive the Aretino Family Heirloom for your efforts.(Aventus Aretino is a child.)


Kill Grelod The Kind

Tell Aventus Aretino that Grelod is dead

Grelod is located far to the south in Riften. Seek out Honorhall Orphanage and simply kill Grelod. If you don't mind exposing children to violence, you can do it in front of them without any repercussions, or you can be a gentleman and wait until she retires for the night. Carry out Aventus’ wishes only to be met by the hurrah’s of the remaining children, who compliment Aventus for a job well done. Return to Aventus with the good news.

After completing this quest, you must sleep somewhere to initiate the next Dark Brotherhood quest, With Friends Like These.


The quest With Friends Likes These... will be triggered the first time you go to sleep after finishing Innocence Lost.


Kill one of the captives

Speak with Astrid

Enter the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary

Speak to Astrid

After completing Innocence Lost, wait for a courier to deliver a message from the Dark Brotherhood (if after waiting for a while and the courier doesn't show, just fast travel or take a carriage to Falkreath which is the closest city to the sanctuary. He should come then). Then go to sleep in any bed for any amount of time. You will feel well rested when you awake (unless you have the blood of the werewolf, which would mean that you do not get any sort of rest), but you’ll not be where you last laid yourself to rest. A hooded woman known as Astrid tells you that she is from the Dark Brotherhood and that you owe a debt to them.To repay it, you must simply kill one of the three captives in the shack (to kill one is optional) . Kill all three to impress Astrid if you want.

At this point, she extends an invitation to join the secret society of assassins, gives you the key to the shack, and urges you to enter the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary near Falkreath. Walk up to the creepy-looking door and respond with “Silence, my brother” to be welcomed in.

Speak to Astrid for your welcome package for officially joining the Brotherhood and also end the quest.

Walkthrough Version 2 - Kill Astrid

So... A hooded woman known as Astrid tells you that she is from the Dark Brotherhood and that you owe a debt to them.To repay it, you must simply kill one of the three captives in the shack. Simple enough right?

Well, if you get to talking to the three captives that kneel before you (whether out of basic interest or earnestly trying to discover which one could have had a 'hit' placed on them) you will discover that one is a mother of six, the other a soldier and another a Khajiit who's already had a contract taken out on him before...Killing the Khajiit may ease the consciences of some, but for others there is always the option of killing Astrid.

Kill Astrid and you will find the key to escape the shack on her body, the quest for the Dark Brotherhood will come up as failed... dang. There goes that quest line. Until a new quest pops up "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood". You are now able to set the captives free and instructed to inform a guard of Astrid's death.

You can literally walk up to any guard and tell them of Astrid's death. Solitude may be the best destination to quick-travel to though, seeing as it is nearest the shack. After you have informed a guard, he/she will tell you to find a general at Dragons bridge and pass the message on - still in disbelief that you were able to take down the leader of the Dark Brotherhood.

Either way you will still be able to get into the sanctuary and claim the Stone of Barenziah, the Word of Power (Marked for Death), and a few skill books.


You can receive Sanctuary after having completed the previous quest, With Friends Like These..., and talking to Astrid about some tasks you may be able to perform. She will direct you to Nazir and ask you to talk to him about some minor level contracts.


Speak to Nazir

Receive first set of contracts from Nazir

Nazir is the Redguard in red and may often be found standing in the main room of the cave in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. Talk to him to advance the quest and you will receive three separate contracts, which are actually three separate contracts. In each instance, you should do your best to avoid killing in the public light as it often brings a large sum of bounty on your head and may take away the chance to get any added bonus to the reward of completing the contract.

Contract: Kill Beitild


Kill Beitild

Report back to Nazir

This is probably the hardest contract to complete from the first set of contracts you receive from Nazir as the location of the victim is the closer to the path of guards and civilians than the last two targets' locations and the victim can take a few hits before going down, even in sneak mode apparently.

Beitild can be found in the town of Dawnstar, which is at the very top of the map. There are a few guards and civilians walking around in the town and can be a major concern at some points in this contract.

You can find Beitild often walking around town. To get her at the perfect moment, you must wait until she retires to her house to sleep. This is often after noon or around night. Her house is located north of the ship and is in between the Mortar and Pestle and Silus Vesuius's house.

Once she has gone to sleep, you may attempt to break into her house with lock-picks or her key, which you may pickpocket from her beforehand. The lock is a novice lock and should be no problem to unlock. If not, just try your best with the lock-picks you have and use any buffs, potions, spells, or enchantments you may have.

Once you have broken into her house, you will find her sleeping on the bed to the left of the door. Go into sneak mode and take out your most powerful weapon, just to be sure she is dead in one hit as she can take quite a few even with the x2.0 sneak bonus being present. Kill her when you are ready and loot her body and house if necessary.

Make sure that the guards have no idea of what you have done before saving or else, go back to a previous save and try again. Once the task is completed, either finish all the other contracts in the set or report back to Nazir for your reward.

Contract: Kill Narfi


Kill Narfi

Report back to Nazir

This is probably the easiest and fastest contract to complete from the first set of contracts you receive from Nazir as the location of the victim is closer to the sanctuary than the other targets' locations and the victim's path is secluded from the rest of the nearby community.

Narfi can be found in the small town of Ivarstead, which is right next to Shroud Hearth Barrow and close to Honeystrand Cave. There are a few guards walking around in the town and may be located in positions that may make your task a bit more difficult but that is no major concern.

You can find Narfi at the end of the town, along the base of the mountains and across the river that is next to the sawmill in the town. You can also spot him standing next to an abandoned broken shack and may use that as a reference point for the target.

Once you have reached that location, you may find him wandering outside of the shack. You may attempt to kill him right here but the risks of doing so are greater as the guards usually watch this particular location from across the river for most of the day. To kill him in a convenient manner, without getting caught, wait for him to retire to his shack, which is usually after 5 P.M - 5 A.M.

After he has retired to his shack, go into sneak mode and take out your strongest weapon as he can take quite a punch before going down and you want to make sure that you take him out in one blow or else, he will warn the guards. Strike and kill him once you have positioned yourself behind him. Loot him if necessary and exit the area. Make sure that the guards have no idea of what you have done before saving or else, go back to a previous save and try again.

Once the task is completed, either finish all the other contracts in the set or report back to Nazir for your reward.

Contract: Kill Ennodius Papius


Kill Ennodius Papius

Report back to Nazir

This is probably the second easiest and fastest contract to complete from the first set of contracts you receive from Nazir as the location of the victim is the closer to the sanctuary, after Narfi, than the last target's location and the victim's path is secluded from the rest of the nearby community, similar to Narfi.

Ennodius Papius can be found in the small mill called Anga's Mill, which is right west of Windhelm and consists of a few people. There are no guards walking around in the town and are not a major concern in this contract.

You can find Ennodius Papius a bit north of the mill, next to the river that where you may spot mudcrabs. He will be located in the small camp of his and as Nazir had explained, this is due to his paranoia.

Once you have reached that location, you may find him sitting outside, tending to the fire or sleeping in hist tent. You may attempt to kill him either when he is outside or sleeping but make sure you are in sneak mode, for maximum effectiveness, and kill him with your most powerful weapon just to be sure that he goes down quietly. The risks of doing so are near to none so do not be afraid of any guards catching you but still make sure that you are alone with him in the area. Loot his body and belongings if necessary.

Once the task is completed, either finish all the other contracts in the set or report back to Nazir for your reward.



Speak with Astrid

Talk to Muiri

Kill Alain Dufont

(Optional) Kill Nilsine Shatter-Shield

Talk to Muiri

Report back to Astrid

When you find Muiri in Markarth, she tells you that Alain Dufont, the leader of some bandits holed up in Raldbthar, must die. She has no qualms about the cold-blooded murder of her ex-lover; as an optional task, she requests that a Nilsine Shatter-Shield also be offed.

The entrance to Raldbthar sits atop long series of stone steps. It's sparsely populated inside and you can proceed through the linear path to Alain. Keep note that there he stands on flammable liquid. Alternatively, if your lock-picking is high enough you can unlock the gate to the upper level and use the incendiary longbows on Alain and his crew.

Taking care of Nilsine in Windhelm pads your final payout quite nicely. It's best to wait until she retires for the night to snuff her out. You can find her in the Hall of the Dead at night.

Return to Muiri to collect your reward (1200g and Muiri's Ring if both targets are killed) and report your results to Astrid.



Hide in the Night Mother's coffin

Eavesdrop on Cicero

Talk to Cicero

Talk to Astrid

Receive a side contract from Nazir

The Night Mother's coffin must be first unlocked from the outside before you can slip in. Once opened, head inside until the screen turns dark. (Not creepy at all being in a coffin with a dessicated corpse.) It's just a matter of being patient while Cicero spews his madness and then popping out to surprise Cicero afterward.

Astrid doesn't take this news easily and so passes you off to Nazir for a side contract first. The targets are Lurbuk and Hern.

When you return to the Sanctuary, Astrid will have come around and let you talk to Amaund Motierre as per the Night Mother's request.



Speak with Amaund Motierre

Deliver the letter and amulet to Astrid

Show the amulet to Delvin Mallory

Report back to Astrid

Astrid wants you to speak with Amaund Motierre at Volunruud. Head inside this dungeon to find a brown leather-bound journal sitting right at the entrance. Inspecting this begins Silenced Tongues, which can be done simultaneously with this quest.

Amaund is waiting in a room off to the side with his servant, Rexus. You receive a valuable amulet and a sealed letter. Read or don’t read the letter yourself -- you will soon learn what the assassination contract is for.

Deliver letter and amulet to Astrid. Astrid wants you to show the amulet to Devin Mallory in Riften, in a bar called The Ragged Flagon (the hideout for the Thieves' Guild) within an underground area called The Ratway. After showing Mallory the amulet, he will take it and give you a Letter of Credit. Take this letter back to Astrid.



Kill Vittoria Vici

Report back to Astrid

Go to Vittoria Vici’s wedding in Solitude. It's out in the open and in the vicinity of many armed guards. You are free to talk to the guests and the couple to get some information about how people think of this marriage. They don't see you as a threat and welcome you to the ceremony.

You can kill her in the open but be ready to run out and hide after completing the deed. Remember that you reap in greater benefits from an assassination during her speech.

An alternate way to complete this mission is to drop the gargoyle statue on Vittoria's head while she is addressing the crowd. Take note that she should be standing on the balcony directly under the gargoyle. If she is sitting with her husband below, the statue won't hit her so you have to wait for her to address the people if you don't like killing your targets in the open.

Be careful if you have a follower with you. Even though you might not be spotted after the assassination, your follower might attack alerted guards anyways, blowing your cover. The best thing to do is ask your follower to wait at the gates of the city or send him/her home.

If you loot her body after the kill you can get her (unique) outfit. Not getting caught doing this might be a challenge.

You can talk to the guests after the kill to hear their reaction, but sometimes the guards inexplicably attack you anyways.

Report back to Astrid to complete the mission.



Speak with Gabriella

Kill Gaius Maro

(Optional) Steal Gaius Maro's travel schedule

Plant the Incriminating Letter on Gaius Maro's body

Report back to Gabriella

Find Gaius Maro at the Dragon Bridge Camp and follow him on his inspection tour of Skyrim. You can optionally steal his travel schedule to see which cities he will visit on which days of the week. The overall objective is to kill him and plant the Incriminating Letter on his corpse.

The bonus objective is that instead of killing him at either Dragon Bridge or on the road (which is too easy), you should wait for him to actually be inside one of the cities on his tour. The going will be slow, as he takes his time on the road. His first stop will be in Solitude.

Here is his full schedule. To find out what day you're on, simply pull up the Wait menu.

Day of the Week/Location

Morndas Solitude, The Emporer's Tower
(Evening) He will be in Castle Dour.

Tirdas Windhelm, Palace of the Kings
(Evening) Barracks, Palace of the Kings

Middas Riften, Mistveil Keep

Turdas Whiterun, Dragonsreach (Evening) The Bannered Mare

Fredas Markarth, Understone Keep (Evening) Guard Tower

Loredas Random

Sundas Random

The reward for completing the quest is a free fortune reading from Olava the Feeble at Whiterun.



Talk to Astrid

Search Cicero's Room

Talk to Astrid

Behold Shadowmere

Locate Arnbjorn

Talk to Arnbjorn

Enter the Dawnstar Sanctuary

Kill Cicero

Kill Cicero or leave the Sanctuary

Report back to Astrid

Apparently, some things have gone awry in the sanctity of the Dark Brotherhood's home. Talk to Astrid after Cicero's moment of insanity and attempt at Astrid's life. Search Cicero’s room for a journal and take it to Astrid. The journal details the password and location of an older and currently unused Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary near Dawnstar.

Astrid gives you a mighty steed by the name of Shadowmere. Completing this quest will transfer permanent ownership to you. Use him to travel to Dawnstar (or just Fast Travel if you wish).

You'll find Arnbjorn mortally wounded outside the Dawnstar Sanctuary. It doesn't take much convincing to get him to go back to Astrid.

To correctly answer the door and gain entry, choose "Innocence, my Brother."

Be ready for multiple traps, spectral assassins, and a deadly Frost Troll. There's also a couple of skill books on the table in the map room, just past the first hanging bridge (with vertical spike traps).

Find Cicero, and decide here and now whether to kill him or spare him. Leaving him alive will give the quest Cicero's Return, but choosing to kill him shows that his clownish act belies considerable fighting abilities.

Report back (if you spare him, you will lie) to Astrid about Cicero’s fate.



Report to Festus Krex

Question Anton Virane

Kill Anton Virane

Kill Balagog gro-Nolob

(Optional) Drag Balagog's body to a hiding place

Report back to Festus Krex

The Gourmet is a sweeping sensation known in all of Skyrim, but no one knows his or her identity. However, Festus managed to catch a lead on an Anton Virane, who is located in Understone Keep in Markarth. Head there and interrogate Anton Virane. Kill him after obtaining the name and location of The Gourmet.

Kill Balagog gro-Nolob in the cellar of the Nightgate Inn, and obtain the Writ of Passage from his corpse.

Bonus objective: Drag his body to a hiding place -- maybe to a dark corner surrounded by hay and barrels. To drag his body, hold down the button as you're moving. Doing this will reward you with a ring that boosts stealth and destruction magic from Festus.

Report back to Festus at the Sanctuary.



Report to Astrid

Report to Commander Maro

Report to Gianna

Report to Gianna while wearing a chef's hat

Make the Potage le Magnifique

Follow Gianna to the dining room

Kill the Emperor

Escape the Tower!

Return to the Sanctuary

Astrid details the plan: infiltrate the Emperor’s Tower in Solitude posing as The Gourmet, add poison to the Emperor’s meal, and then flee through the conveniently unguarded door afterwards. Profit!

Report to Commander Maro in Solitude and use your Writ of Passage to gain entrance to the Emperor’s Tower. Report to chef Gianna -- you need to be wearing a chef’s hat to progress (there are hats on a nearby shelf).

Help Gianna make The Gourmet’s signature recipe of the Potage le Magnifique. Gianna will fire off questions that require your expert input. In general, the middle option seems to be usually in agreement with Gianna, as she swoons after every reply. When asked for a final ingredient, suggest the poisoned root that Astrid gave you earlier.

TIP: If you can kill the Emperor via another method, you can reserve the Jarrin Root for a Damage Health potion to help kill the final boss in the main storyline.

Follow Gianna into the dining room and watch Emperor Titus Mede II perish at your own concoction. Exit through the marked door, and find yourself in a fight against Commander Maro’s men, the Penitus Oculatus. Maro reveals that you killed a body double, and that an assassin has betrayed you. Because you've been double-crossed by both parties, the Sanctuary by Falkreath will no longer be a map marker that you can Fast Travel to.

Fight your way past the Penitus Oculatus and return to the vicinity of the Sanctuary to be waylaid by more of Maro's men. The quest completes and Death Incarnate begins apace.



Enter the Sanctuary

Search for survivors

Kill Nazir's attacker!

Speak with Nazir

Escape the Sanctuary

Embrace the Night Mother

Talk to Astrid

Kill Astrid

(Optional) Retrieve the Blade of Woe

Return to the Night Mother

You discover that the Sanctuary has been overrun by Penitus Oculatus agents, who have killed Festus Krex, Veezara, Arnbjorn, and Gabriella. Fight your way through what remains of the Sanctuary and locate Nazir. Kill Nazir’s attacker and speak to him. He will then attempt to escape the Sanctuary with you.

Meanwhile, the Night Mother will call for you to hide in her coffin. Do so and transition to the next phase of this quest when Babette and Nazir open the Night Mother’s coffin to find you inside. Per the Night Mother’s order, find Astrid within the Sanctuary ruins and learn the truth about what happened.

Kill Astrid and (optionally) retrieve the Blade of Woe, a one-handed sword that steals health with each hit.

The Night Mother refers you to an informant in Whiterun and asks that you hold the reins to the Dark Brotherhood's fate.



Talk to Nazir

Talk to Amaund Motierre

Board The Katariah

(Optional) Kill Commander Maro

Kill the Emperor!

Report to Amaund Motierre

Retrieve the payment

(Optional) Kill Amaund Motierre

Report to Nazir

Talk to Nazir about your next plan of action: obtaining the location of the true Emperor Titus Mede II from Amaund Motierre. Motierre will be at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun from now on. Talk to Motierre and tell him that the contract is still valid. He will reveal the location of the true Emperor: a boat off of Solitude’s harbor called the Katariah.

There is the optional objective of killing Commander Maro. Go to the East Empire Company Warehouse, which is located near Solitude (side note: it is not actually a warehouse, it is a dock). At the dock, Maro is standing on one of the docks surrounded by Mede's henchmen. If you let him hit you first, there is a chance that his own men will turn against him and help you defeat him -- this is granted that you do not have an outstanding bounty in Solitude.

Going back to the matter at hand, the mighty Katariah is docked just in the water by the Blue Palace. Swim over to it and encroach the ship by way of the chain on the side. There will be plenty of resistance on the ship; what's more is that a few locked doors requiring high Lock-picking skills stand between you and the Emperor. However, by killing the named captain you can get the Katariah Master Key to get past any door easily.

The Emperor himself isn't much of a fighter himself. He makes things a little interesting: gives you another bonus objective to kill the man who initiated the contract.

Report back to Motierre to learn the location of your final payment: an urn inside the original meeting area of Volunruud. The urn contains 20,000 gold. Optionally, fulfil the Emperor’s dying request by killing Motierre. When you kill Motierre, he has an assortment of gems and stones on him like diamonds, emeralds and many more; this is just icing on the proverbial payload cake.

No matter what you say to Nazir back at the Dawnstar Sanctuary, he will send you to Mallory in Riften to transform this old, dusty place into a proper domicile for the Dark Brotherhood.

With this final quest of the Dark Brotherhood quest-line, you've restored this secret society of assassins to its former glory. You can now take on a variety of never-ending Radiant Quests. At this point, too, you gain extra Followers in the form of Dark Brotherhood initiates and Cicero's Loyalty (provided he's still alive).

Andi Hodgetts

Author of Stonehurst