Darkened Steel

QUEST GIVER Thoring, Bandit’s Journal – Orphan’s Tear
LOCATIONS Windpeak Inn, Orphan’s Tear, The Frozen Hearth, Candelhearth Hall, Windhelm Hall of the Dead, Wanderer’s Rest, The Winking Skeever
PREREQUISITES A Rose Without Thorns
Tikrid’s backstory accessed and not in party
Killed Nimhe
Erevan not in party
RELATED QUESTS A Daedra in the Dark
NPCS Gancielo, Tikrid, Lorne, Soren, Darksteel agents
REWARD Optional Darksteel Dagger, optional gold (max 500 + 40), optional carrot

Darkened Steel is a quest series that takes the player on a journey of mystery, intrigue, honor, and betrayal. Secrets of an ancient brotherhood that has been lost to the ages is revealed in this questline as players and a number of companions find themselves thrown into an elaborate plot of revenge and redemption that began eons ago when mortals dared to defy the will of gods.

Before starting Darkened Steel, the player must have finished A Rose WIthout Thorns and learned about Tikrid’s childhood after rescuing her from Snowpoint Beacon. Specifically, listen to her background story about losing her best friend named Sahlene. Additionally, the spider Nimhe from the vanilla quest, Nimhe, the Poisoned One, must be killed in order to clear Nchuand-Zel Excavation Site for later events in the questline.

Something Strange From the Seas
Darkened Steel can be started by asking Thoring at Windpeak Inn if there are any rumors floating around. He will hand the player a notice from the Jarl’s steward warning scavengers to not to loot the wreck of Orphan’s Tear. Which, of course, to the adventuring player means to leave no stones unturned, so head over to Orphan’s Tear and see what manners of exploits will turn up this time.

Defeat the bandits that have taken up residence around the wreck and find a notebook written by a frightened bandit named Veklas on some crates near the copping block. Read the journal to learn that Veklas lingered behind during a storm hoping to stash away some loot and witnessed a group of men of rising from the depth of the Sea of Ghosts, looking to find their way to the main road in order to bury their dead at a location called Wanderer’s Rest.

Sensing an unusual mystery, go back to Windpeak Inn to witness an exchange between Frik and a new visitor, Gancielo. Gancielo is an Imperial scholar with an interest in sailor folklore. Ask him to look at the journal and he will tell the player about the two different legends associated with Wanderer’s Rest. The first and more popular version involves a mapmaker and a king, the other lesser known one speaks of the location as the final resting place for the members of an ancient brotherhood. He tells the player that when a member of this group of secretive nightblades die, the body is returned to Wanderer’s Rest by the surviving members, and only then the location will be open to passage. Questioning him on how he knows so much about this obscure organization and he will direct the player to seek out his source, a man named Lorne. Unfortunately, Lorne has a bounty on his head for public intoxication and has recently relocated to Winterhold.

– The notebook is a movable static object, which means it’s subject to the whims of Skyrim’s havok system. As such, anything that may toss the book during combat, like a master level destruction spell that creates a large blast, tends to fling the notebook to the far reaches of Oblivion, rendering it unobtainable. It’s advisable to avoid using such spells and shouts during the tussle with bandits so the book will stay relatively untouched in its intended location.

A Genius or a Lunatic
Tikrid needs to be recruited for the next stages of the quest. She can be found chopping wood after exiting the Windpeak Inn. Speak with her and she will join the player to find Lorne on this curious adventure. Lorne is a colorful character found in a drunken stupor at the Frozen Hearth in Winterhold. Initial conversation with him will yield little useful information, whether because of his intoxication or unwillingness to share the sought after knowledge. He informs the player that he needs to empty the content of his stomach and walks out of the bar.

Follow Lorne to find a group of mercenaries waiting outside, ready to collect on the bounty. After Tikrid and the player defends the quirky alcoholic from the group of sellswords, he will express his gratitude and become cooperative. Having sobered up a bit from harrowing experience, asking him to examine the notebook again confirms that the notebook does describe members of the nameless brotherhood he has dubbed “Darksteel”. He offers a way to get inside the tomb, explaining that they simply need to obtain a corpse of one of the brothers and carry it inside as its corpsebearers. Because the members of this brotherhood brands their bodies with a special marking as a rite of initiation, the corpse should be easily distinguishable even after death. He suggests a little good old-fashioned grave robbing in the Halls of the Dead in Windhelm and set off to meet the player there.

A corpse to bear
Lorne can be next met in the Candelhearth Hall in Windhelm, evidently already resumed his binge drinking habits long before the Dragonborn and Tikrid arrived. Fed up at at Lorne’s inability to cooperate, Tikrid suggest to the player that they begin searching for the corpse without him. Head over to the Hall of the Dead next to the cemetery, Tikrid will split up from the player to examine the dead bodies. Activate the possible corpses to see a description and an option to pick it up, check with Lorne when prompted to see if the right corpse is found. After picking up the correct corpse, fetch Tikrid from her location and return to Lorne.

**SPOILERS for finding the correct corpse (highlight to reveal)**
The correct body is the one with a blackened finger buried with a single dagger on the bottom rack of two stacked corpses.

With the nightblade’s corpse in possession, the trio is ready to solve the mystery of this ancient brotherhood. Wanderer’s Rest is located at the end of the road going west from Pineforest Tower. Tikrid and Lorne will have some idle commentary along the way. Lorne speculates that there will be a ceremonial brazier outside of the tomb to burn the corpse which will open up the passage. His speculation turns out to be correct when the group arrives at end of the road. Activate the brazier to place the corpse and the cave entrance will be available for travel.

Once inside the sacred temple, the player can find a member of the nightblades named Soren near the entrance. Speak with him to learn about the purpose and possible origin of Wanderer’s Rest. He relays the organization began when the first Chosen, Varyan, defied his power hungry mentor and the founder of the group, Deneris, in favor of Azura when tasked to steal her artifact. Soren informs the three adventurers of their new found responsibilities as corpsebearers to guide the spirit they brought back to Varyan to be be reborn as guardians of the sanctuary. Additional dialogue with Soren also reveals that he and three other members were the ones that rose out of the ocean described in Veklas’ journal at the start of the quest. Having shipwrecked on the Sea of Ghosts close to shore, they were able to walk on the ocean floor and onto dry land using heavy armor and Waterbreathing. He warns the trio to travel the pilgrimage through the cavern but not to step onto the dais at the end.

Follow the passage through the sanctuary, various spirits will provide additional commentary on the brotherhood’s history along the way. When entering the final chamber, the adventurers will be again reminded not to step onto the dais following the returned spirit. The spirit of Varyan along with two of his pupils will greet the returned spirit at their throne. The stolen corpse turns out to be none other than Deneris himself, attempting to seek revenge for Varyan’s betrayal ages ago.

Just a Step Away
Seeing trouble, Tikrid rushes onto the dais in an attempt to stop the impending confrontation, and inadvertently trigger the pressure plate that ends the scene in a fiery explosion. The spirits of Varyan and the others having apparently being destroyed, Lorne declares the situation to be a disaster. He immediately leaves the player and Tikrid, hoping to escape the sanctuary before its inhabitants realizes what had transpired. Lorne is too late, however, as he is struck down by the now hostile nightblades. The player along with Tikrid must either fight their way out of the long cavern or make a mad dash back out of the temple.

Soren meets the player near the exit and prompt the player to escape before the cave collapses completely. Once outside, he will engage the player and demand an explanation. The player can either convince Soren that Deneris is back, up to no good, or engage him in battle. If the player chooses to tell him the truth, he will accept the explanation and give the player his Darksteel Dagger before leaving to grief, promising to return for it at a later point. If the player choose to dual with Soren, he will die and Tikrid will express regret over all the death, saying she feels responsible for causing these events to transpire. Either way, the player will be prompted to return to Gancielo, now relocated to Solitude.

The Next Chapter
Meet with Gancielo at the Winking Skeever in Solitude. The player can him about Lorne’s death and either give him a Darksteel dagger or say nothing was found. If the player gives him the dagger, he will reward the player with up to 500 gold for the artifact. Darkened Steel will be marked as complete at this point. Tikrid leave the player and remarks that she will be staying in Solitude for the time being. To continue to the next quest in the series, talk to Gancielo again about the brotherhood of nightblades. He suggests the player to look for remaining documents Lorne kept on the subject and A Daedra in the Dark will start.

– Darksteel daggers can be looted from any Darksteel agents
– If scenes do not trigger properly, try waiting a few in-game hours or reload a previous save

Video Walkthrough

 5 Investigate Orphan’s Tear. Notebook enabled.
 10 Learn more about the history of Wanderer’s Rest. Gancielo enabled.
 20 Frik talks to Gancielo in Windpeak Inn.
 30 Gancielo tells the player about Wanderer’s Rest.
 40 Leave Windpeak Inn. Gancielo exits. Tikrid moved to woodpile outside.
 50 Speak with Tikrid and bring her along.
 60 Find Lorne at the Frozen Hearth in Winterhold. Tikrid added as follower. Lorne is enabled.
 70 Stage 60 shown as completed. Gancielo is disabled. Sellswords enabled.
 80 Protect Lorne from bounty hunters. Lorne finds sellswords outside of the inn. Fight ensues.
 90 Stage 80 set as complete after fight ends. Tikrid talks to Lorne.
 95 Set if player coerces Lorne to pay for the bandit notebook via dialogue. Lorne gives player upto 40 gold and a carrot.
 100 Notebook removed from player inventory.
 110 Lorne and Tikrid discusses the corpse.
130 Meet Lorne in Windhelm
140 Lorne is drunk in Candlehearth Hall, Tikrid gets fed up. Coffin markers are enabled.
150 Find the nightblade’s corpse in the Hall of the Dead
160 Verify the corpse with Lorne. Tikrid splits up from the player to examine the corpses.
170 Check on Tikrid after finding the correct corpse.
175 Verify the corpse with Lorne. Loren sobered up and confirms correct find.
180 Tikrid and Lorne agrees to leave for Wanderer’s Rest. Coffin markers disabled.
190 Walk the road to Wanderer’s Rest west of Pineforest Tower. Wanderer’s Rest mapmarker added. Brazier enabled.
195 Meet Lorne and Tikrid at Wanderer’s Rest.
200 Burn the corpse in the brazier. Corpse removed from inventory. Door to interior enabled.
210 Lorne and Tikrid banter at the entrance of the cave.
220 Spirits appears on the dais, Deneris returned to Varyan. Extra Darksteel agents disabled.
230 Tikrid steps onto the dais, Lorne leaves.
260 Lorne removed as follower. Darksteels set to be hostile to Lorne, Tikrid, player.
260 Lorne removed as follower. Darksteels set to be hostile to Lorne, Tikrid, player.
270 If player chose to fight Soren. Soren set killable and begins combat.
280 After Soren dies, Tikrid feels guilty for all the death.
290 If player chose to talk to Soren. Soren gives player a Darksteel Dagger.
300 Return to Gancielo in Solitude.
310 Gancielo pays up to 500 gold for Darksteel Dagger.
320 Quest marked as complete.

Stages 81, 82, 84, 86 are set during dialogue or scenes. 0, 120, 196, 240 appear to be empty stages.

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