|Primary Skills||Destruction, Sneak, Alteration, One-handed|
|Faction(s)||CR04ExclusionFaction; CrimeFactionRift; FavorExcludedFaction; Imperial Government; MQ201PartyGuestHappy; NPCs the Player cannot marry; Riften Black Briar House Faction; Thieves Guild No Pickpocketing Faction; TownRiftenFaction; faction for party guests|
Maven Black-Briar is the matriarch of the Black-Briar family, and unofficially controls most of Riften. She is the mother of Hemming Black-Briar, Ingun and Sibbi. Maul is her right-hand man and enforces her will in the city. She has strong ties with both the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, as well as being a personal friend of Jarl Laila Law-Giver, despite their political differences. She has her hands in every shady business in Riften, is involved in multiple quests, and is so influential that she will take over as Jarl if the Imperial Legion conquer the Rift.
Maven wears fine clothes with fine boots along with a leveled necklace and ring. She carries a belted tunic, her personal key, the Black-Briar Manor key, a leveled dagger of the best possible quality, a potion, and a selection of upper-class items and gold. She knows the spells Lightning Bolt, Sparks, and Steadfast Ward.
Maven lives in Black-Briar Manor, right next to Mistveil Keep, and she sleeps there every night between midnight and 8am, in her large second-floor bedroom. After a two-hour breakfast, her busy day begins with a visit to one of her many businesses, the Black-Briar Meadery, to check up on brewmaster Indaryn and the other employees. At noon she enjoys a two-hour lunch at the Bee and Barb with Vulwulf Snow-Shod, before she pays a visit to Laila Law-Giver in Mistveil Keep at 2pm. At 4pm she browses the marketplace in the town center until 6pm when she returns home for a two-hour dinner. Her entire evening is spent at the Bee and Barb, until she finally heads back to her luxurious bedroom at midnight. There are only three exceptions to this routine: during the quest Dampened Spirits when she will stay hidden on the second floor of the Bee and Barb and hand out orders to you, during Diplomatic Immunity when she will be one of the guests at the Thalmor Embassy, and during the Thieves Guild quest Under New Management when she will show up in the Cistern of the Ragged Flagon and oversee your initiation.
If she is appointed jarl, Maven will move into Mistveil Keep with Hemming and Maul and follow a different routine befitting her new station. She sleeps in the jarl's chambers between midnight and 8am then heads downstairs and breakfasts with the rest of her court for two hours. She then takes the throne and stays there until her bedtime, interrupted only by two-hour meals at 1pm and 7pm. She runs all her operations from Mistveil Keep, but will still leave for the Bee and Barb during Dampened Spirits. If she is jarl, she will not turn up at the Thalmor Embassy during Diplomatic Immunity, although she will still turn up at the Ragged Flagon during Under New Management.
Clearly the most influential citizen in Riften, Maven has the attitude to match, both when talking to the citizens and when talking to you. When you approach her she will greet you with disgust, saying: "I presume you're bothering me for a good reason?", "What in the name of Oblivion do you want?" or "I don't have time for idle chit-chat. What is it?" If you tell her that her name carries a lot of weight in Riften, she will reveal just how much weight: "Of course. Nothing gets done without my approval in this city. I have the Jarl's ear, and the guards in my pocket. Anyone makes trouble for me and I pay a visit to the Thieves Guild. Make me angry and I contact the Dark Brotherhood. You'd do well to remember that the next time you make such a stupid observation." After joining the Thieves Guild, you can also ask her how she became allied with them, to which she will respond: "The Black-Briar family has always been allied with the Guild. Our connections with the Empire and within Skyrim make for a perfect fit. I dare say the Guild owes its survival as much to my family as it does to its own people." When exiting conversation, you will always get a disgusted "I believe we're done." or "Out of my way." She shows little compassion for the poor and suffering and, when she is browsing the market in the afternoon, the local beggars will collect nothing of her wealth. When asking for a handout, Snilf will receive a: "Never. Now move aside." while Edda will get an even more degrading: "Get away from me, you filthy woman." She is equally uninterested in Mara and the message of love, and if you attempt to hand her a pamphlet during Spread the Love, she will accept it as a joke: "Excellent, I needed some more kindling for my kitchen hearth." If the Imperial Legion conquers the Rift and she is made jarl, she will do very little but live the good life inside Mistveil Keep, happily noting that she finally found a position suitable for her influence, saying: "The throne suits me, don't you think?", "My title is just a formality. I've always been in charge around here." and "Jarl Maven Black-Briar. Has a pleasant sound to it, wouldn't you say?"
Thieves Guild Questline
- Dampened Spirits: Put Maven Black-Briar's competition out of business.
- The Pursuit: Break into Mercer Frey's house and search for clues.
- Vald's Debt: Find the Quill of Gemination to clear Vald's debt to Maven Black-Briar.
- Under New Management: Become the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild.
Mistveil Keep Quests
- The Raid: Help the Jarl of Riften to uncover and stop the illegal skooma trade in town.
- Supply and Demand: Clear Cragslane Cavern for the Jarl of Riften.
- I Done Got Thaned!: Help out the Jarl and citizens of the Rift, and be named Thane for your service. (radiant)
Loud and Clear
At the beginning of Loud and Clear, Brynjolf will introduce you to Mercer Frey who will put your skills to the test with a job that even Vex couldn't do—breaking into Goldenglow Estate. He will explain: "Goldenglow Estate is critically important to one of our largest clients. However, the owner has suddenly decided to take matters into his own hands and shut us out. He needs to be taught a lesson. Brynjolf will provide you with the details." Brynjolf will then take over: "Goldenglow Estate is a bee farm; they raise the wretched little things for honey. It's owned by some smart-mouth wood elf named Aringoth. We need you to teach him a lesson by burning down three of the estate's hives and clearing out the safe in the main house." However, the unnamed 'client' will not tolerate you burning down the entire estate: "The catch is that you can't burn the whole place to the ground. That important client Mercer mentioned would be furious if you did." He will explain why upsetting the important client would be bad for the Guild: "That's not how things work around here. The Guild depends on an arrangement of influential people to keep things running smoothly. Without them at our backs, we'd be in serious trouble."
When you ask what should be done with Aringoth, Brynjolf will reveal the name of the client: "Maven prefers that Aringoth remains alive, but if he tries to stop you from getting the job done, kill him. The Guild has a lot riding on this. Don't make me look foolish by mucking it up." When asked why the entire estate can't be leveled, Brynjolf will explain: "I'll give you one good reason. Maven Black-Briar. Burn all the hives and she'd have to import honey for Black-Briar Meadery which would cut into her profits." He will then explain further about the cooperation between Maven and the Guild: "We had an arrangement with Maven. We kept an eye on Goldenglow Estate to make sure the honey kept flowing. If the workers had a dispute, we'd rough them up. If competitors tried to buy honey from Aringoth, we'd steal the shipments. In return, Maven allowed us to extort Aringoth and bring in a huge payout." When asked how dangerous Maven is, Brynjolf will say: "Let me put it to you this way. Nothing happens in Riften without Maven's consent. One word from her and you could spend the rest of the fourth era in prison."
However, should you talk to Aringoth inside Goldenglow, you will find that he is quite scared: "I didn't think Maven or Mercer would allow me to get away with this, but I had little choice." Ask him for the safe's key and he'll refuse, terrified: "I can't. If I do, I may as well cut my own throat." If you successfully persuade him to hand over the key he'll sigh: "Fine. Take it! Once the new owner finds out I gave in, I'm as good as dead anyway."When you return to Brynjolf with the Goldenglow Bill of Sale from the safe, Brynjolf's response will differ depending on your efforts with the burning of the beehives. If you did it wrong, he will say: "You've made a mess of things and Maven's furious. I told you not to burn more than three of the hives! I've smoothed things over with her for now, but you can forget your cut." If you did well, he will greet you with: "Word on the street is Goldenglow's been hit. Good job, lad/lass." He will then look at the bill and say: "Aringoth sold Goldenglow? What's that idiot thinking? He has no idea the extent of Maven's fury when she's been cut out of a deal, but I'm certain he'll find out. If only this parchment had the buyer's name instead of this odd symbol. Any idea what that might be?" When you say 'no' he will send you to Maven with the words: "Blast. Well, I'll check my sources and speak to Mercer. But for now, you're off to speak to Maven Black-Briar. She asked for you by name." To respond to this unsettling invitation, you are presented with three options:
|Good, it's about time I met her.||"Don't sound so eager, it's not a social visit. It's business."|
|I thought I did the job like you asked...?||"Oh, no. Nothing like that. You're calling on her for business."|
|Sure, but will I come out of there alive?||"Ha ha. If it was like that she wouldn't be asking for you, she'd be calling on the Dark Brotherhood. It's just business."|
When you ask him what Maven wants, Brynjolf will respond: "That's between you and Maven and I prefer to keep it that way. Just keep your ears open and your mouth shut and you'll do fine." OR "Don't worry about it. Maven's business dealings usually involve quite a bit of gold for her people." After handing you the reward, the quest ends and Brynjolf will repeat: "Maven wants to see you right away. I suggest you head right over." This starts the next quest, Dampened Spirits.
Inside the newly opened Honningbrew Meadery near Whiterun stands confident owner Sabjorn, who will sell his produce saying: "Honningbrew uses only the finest natural honey, not that sludge you'll find at Goldenglow Estate." and "Black-Briar Mead is just fine, if you need something to wash the dirt off a riding horse's hooves." This kind of unfriendly competition is not acceptable for Maven and you will find her waiting for you on the second floor of the Bee and Barb, obviously not interested in attracting too much attention. When she sees you, her greeting will differ depending on your efforts back at Goldenglow. If you managed to screw it up, she will be disgusted and say: "So you're the one that burned down Goldenglow Estate. Do you have any idea what that little stunt you pulled is going to cost me? I'm amazed you even bothered to show your face here." If you did well, she will only say: "So, you're the one. Hmm. You don't look so impressive." However, you will be presented with three different options, again depending on your past efforts. The table below displays all possible variations and the conditions: [verification needed — needs exact conditions for each line of dialogue]
|Effort at Goldenglow||Option||Maven's response|
|Success||I'm the best at what I do.||"Is that confidence I hear... or is it arrogance? Strange how often they're confused. You have to understand, it's been a long time since Brynjolf's sent me anyone I can rely on."|
|How about we skip the conversation?||"You're a firebrand, aren't you? It's about time Brynjolf sent me someone with business sense. I was beginning to think he was running some sort of beggar's guild over there."|
|Sorry you're disappointed.||"This is exactly what I'm talking about. Once again Brynjolf sends me someone with no backbone, no determination."|
|Failure||My apologies, Lady Maven.||"The only reason we're having this conversation is due to Brynjolf's assurance you won't botch another assignment. He claims you possess some sort of uncanny aptitude for your line of work. Quite frankly I find that hard to believe."|
After that, you can ask her if she has no faith in the Thieves Guild: "Faith? I don't have faith in anyone. All I care about is cause and effect. Did the job get done and was it done correctly. There's no gray area." You can now tell her she won't have any problems like that with you and she will say: "I hope not. This is an important job. I have a competitor called Honningbrew Meadery that I want to put out of business. I also want to know how they managed to get the place up and running so quickly." She will then explain what needs to be done beforehand: "Head to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun and look for Mallus Maccius. He'll fill you in on all the details." At this point, you can ask for an elaboration on the owner at Honningbrew: "Some layabout named Sabjorn. Been a thorn in my side for the last few years now." When you point out that Sabjorn seems like more than just friendly competition, she will admit: "Not a day goes by that I don't regret letting Sabjorn get as far as he did. In only a few short years, he's taken that bile he calls mead to market and a chunk of my profits with it! I can't imagine where he found the gold to take it to market so quickly." She then admits he needs to be taken out: "Exactly. With Sabjorn in prison, his meadery will be forced to close. Then I swoop in and take over the place. No more competition." She will send you away with a warning: "One more time in case I wasn't clear. You butcher this job and you'll be sorry." You can ask her why she strikes the Honningbrew Meadery now: "The Goldenglow Estate job has undoubtedly interrupted the supply of honey I need to make my mead. Sabjorn could use this interruption to his advantage and collect a larger share of the market. I can't have that." Otherwise, she will just ask you to hurry: "Shouldn't you be on your way to Whiterun?" and "Why aren't you at Honningbrew Meadery?"
In Whiterun, unhappy brewmaster Mallus Maccius will share the clever plan about poisoning the brewing vats and will finish with: "Maven and I spent weeks planning this. All we need is someone like you to get in there and get it done." He will also add: "Once Sabjorn is out of the way, Maven has plans for this place." He will then explain his motives for ruining things for Sabjorn: "Maven and I worked out a little deal. If Sabjorn ends up in jail, she's going to take over his meadery. And guess who gets to run the Black-Briar Meadery in Whiterun? You're looking at him."
After the deed is done and Sabjorn is behind bars, ask Mallus for permission to look at Sabjorn's books and he will say: "So, Maven wants to hunt down Sabjorn's private partner, huh?" and hand you the key. When you mention the presence of Hamelyn in the basement, he will admit: "I thought it would be better to leave some of the details out of our previous discussion. Didn't want to risk you walking away from the job. Besides, you've done Maven a favor getting rid of him and saved me from wasting coin hiring someone else to do it later." Lastly, he will tell you what he will do to the old Honningbrew Meadery: "Start changing it over to the Black-Briar Meadery West as soon as possible. That was Maven's part of the deal. She's put me in charge of keeping the mead flowing, so that's exactly what I'm going to do. If you're in the area and you ever need anything fenced, you just let me know." He will bid you farewell with: "Remember to put in a good word with Maven for me." In Sabjorn's private quarters you will find an offer from Maven, along with the promissory note.
Back in the Bee and Barb, Maven will be waiting for you, greeting you with an impatient: "I trust you have good news for me." Two options will reflect whether or not you failed at Honningbrew Meadery. If you failed, you will get a good talking-to before Maven will take the promissory note from you. [verification needed — needs exact conditions for each line of dialogue, and the missing part filled in, if any]
|Effort at Honningbrew||Option||Maven's response|
|Failure||Job's finished. Here's the information you requested.||"Have you lost your mind? I thought it was clear I didn't want anyone killed. Now I have to spend a fortune to keep the whole thing quiet. Guess where that money comes from."|
|I'm sorry, Maven.||"The only thing keeping me from having you killed is Brynjolf. He's stepped in and made amends. At least you remembered to bring me the information I requested. Give me that."|
Whether or not you succeeded or failed, Maven will take the note from you and be annoyed: "This doesn't tell me much. The only thing that could identify Sabjorn's partner is this odd little symbol." She will continue with: "Well, whoever this mysterious marking represents, they'll regret starting a war with me. You should bring this information to the Thieves Guild immediately. There's also the matter of your payment. I believe you'll find this more than adequate for your services." After handing you the reward, she will send you away with: "I believe we're done." Back in the Ragged Flagon, Brynjolf will comment: "Word on the street is that poor Sabjorn has found himself in Whiterun's prison. How unfortunate for him." When you remark that it was fortunate for Maven, Brynjolf will respond: "Exactly! Now you're beginning to see how our little system works. Maven sent word that you discovered something else while you were out there. Something important to the Guild?" When you tell him about the symbol, he will say: "Then this is beyond coincidence. First Aringoth and now Sabjorn. Someone's trying to take us down by driving a wedge between Maven and the Guild." He will then send you to see Mercer Frey, thus ending the quest. Should you pay Mallus Maccius a visit in his new brewery, he will happily say: "Maven Black-Briar always remembers her friends. That's why I'm in charge of the place."
The next quest, Scoundrel's Folly, takes you to an angry Mercer Frey who has been equally unable to identify the strange symbol. He concludes: "It would seem our adversary is attempting to take us apart indirectly by angering Maven Black-Briar. Very clever." However, the unknown enemy made a mistake and Mercer orders you to visit an old Thieves Guild accomplice, Gulum-Ei, who used to be their contact in Solitude's East Empire Company. You are to seek him out and shake the truth out of him, in an attempt to identify who bought Goldenglow. Before leaving for Solitude, pay a visit to Maven and tell her about current events. It turns out she has been in contact with Mercer: "Yes, we spoke at length while you were in Whiterun dealing with our meadery situation. I hope for all your sakes you find out who's behind this supposed 'plot.'" She will then explain her choice of words: "Having Goldenglow kept in line by the Thieves Guild has kept the honey flowing with minimal cost. Now, mysteriously, some sort of anonymous adversary shows up and takes the Estate out of my hands." She will then admit she starts to doubt the Thieves Guild: "When you've been doing business like I have for decades, you quickly discover that the only person you can trust is yourself." According to Maven there is only one way to regain her trust in the Guild: "If you were to bring me the deed to Goldenglow Estate, so I was the full owner, that would be a step in the right direction." If that happens, she will be willing to compensate: "Since I know losing the farm's payments will harm the Guild, I intend to make a substantial contribution for compensation. I take care of my friends."
After your lengthy trek through the Empire Company Warehouse and Brinewater Grotto, stubborn Argonian Gulum-Ei will finally be scared enough to tell the truth about how he acted as middleman in the sale of Goldenglow, as well as who was behind it: Karliah, the thief responsible for murdering Mercer Frey's predecessor, Gallus. While the plot thickens, Maven will once again be brought up, after Gulum-Ei hands you the deed to Goldenglow Estate: "Here, take the Goldenglow Estate Deed as proof. And when you speak to Mercer, tell him I'm worth more to him alive." Now you can ask him why Karliah purchased Goldenglow, and the plan will be obvious: "I asked her the same thing and she wouldn't come out and tell me. But now that I know who she is, I'd say she's trying to hit the Thieves Guild where it hurts." He will then explain: "Maven Black-Briar needs Goldenglow's honey for her mead. She's been using the Guild to keep the Estate under her thumb. If the owner cuts the Guild out of the picture, he's cutting Maven out of the picture... which she can't afford. If I was Maven, I'd blame the Guild for weakening and not being able to handle the place." He will then state the obvious, that Maven would lose faith in the Guild, exactly as she told you back in Riften: "Exactly. For the Guild to survive, they need Maven's support. This Karliah must have spent a lot of time and resources planning this." When you return to Mercer Frey, he will be so shocked to hear the name Karliah, that Maven and her funds will be temporarily forgotten while you go through Snow Veil Sanctum with Mercer during the quest Speaking With Silence.
When Mercer betrays you at the end of Speaking With Silence, the conversation between Mercer and Karliah makes it clear who bought Goldenglow Estate and funded Honningbrew Meadery, simply to lure Mercer out in the open due to the rage of Maven Black-Briar, as she explains it inside Snow Veil Sanctum: "'To ensure an enemy's defeat, you must first undermine his allies.' It was the first lesson Gallus taught us." Brynjolf will comment on Karliah's actions with admiration: "Trying to make Mercer look bad in front of Maven, eh? Clever lass." When you find proof of Mercer's betrayal during the quest Skyrim:Hard Answers, Karliah finally comes out of hiding and convinces Brynjolf, Vex, and Delvin Mallory that Mercer needs to be taken out, especially after showing them the emptied treasury. During the quest The Pursuit, Brynjolf will ask you to investigate Mercer's residence, Riftweald Manor, for clues on Mercer's location. According to Brynjolf, Mercer inherited the manor from the Black-Briars: "Aye. A gift from the Black-Briars after they kicked the previous family out... place called Riftweald Manor. He never stays there, just pays for the upkeep on it. Hired some lout by the name of Vald to guard the place."
Brynjolf will then elaborate on Vald, starting the concurrent quest Vald's Debt: "A real piece of work, that one. Mercer's holding something over his head, keeping him loyal. Talk to Vex. She used to know him very well... if you catch my meaning." When you speak to Vex she will tell you what it takes to remove Vald from the property: "Sure, but he'll ask for a whole lot. I mean, you are asking him to betray Mercer Frey. Your best bet would be to erase his debt with Maven Black-Briar. If you talk to her, she might be able to give you the details." When confronted in the backyard of Riftweald Manor, Vald himself will echo Vex's statements: "You ain't got enough coin to make my problems go away unless ya' can talk Maven Black-Briar into letting me outta' my debt."
When Maven is confronted with this demand, she will be less than impressed: "Vald? Why would you want to help that idiot? He owes me a steep debt. In fact, he's lucky all I did was force him to work for Mercer." She will then explain why Vald owes her: "A few years back, I commissioned a unique quill from a good friend of mine in Winterhold. Vald was tasked with getting it here safely and it ended up at the bottom of Lake Honrich." She will then elaborate on the Quill of Gemination: "The wizards called it the Quill of Gemination and demanded a tremendous amount of gold to have it made. If you can locate the quill and return it to me, something Vald was too stupid to do himself, I'll consider the debt satisfied." While her offer is more than generous for her usual standards, you can still ask her what the Quill of Gemination was supposed to do: "The quill was supposed to allow me to duplicate any writing I'm viewing in exacting detail. I'm sure you can understand how useful that would prove in a business situation, especially where signatures were involved." She will also explain that the Quill was personalized: "Fortunately, the quill required an ink with a unique formula known only to myself. So if you're getting any ideas about selling it to someone else or keeping it, you'll find it would hold little value." As you will have to receive the quill to get Vald out of his debt, you can ask Maven how it ended up in Lake Honrich: "I had Vald meet the caravan from Winterhold on the western end of the lake so he could avoid the roads. The idiot got lost in the mist and ran his boat right over some rocks, sending it straight to the bottom. He's too stupid to remember where he was, and any attempt I've made to find it in the past has been unsuccessful." She will then provide a hint: "Vald said his rowboat struck some rocks... I'd check under the water near one of the small islands in the lake. Perhaps you should start at the docks and work your way out towards Goldenglow Estate."
When found and located, return to Maven with the Quill of Gemination and she will say: "Really? I wrote that off a long time ago. Well, I suppose I need to fulfill my end of the bargain. Give this document to Vald. It frees him from the debt, but I never want to see him in Riften again." In the backyard of Riftweald Manor, Vald will be quite surprised to see his debt erased: "I can't believe it! How did ya' talk her into this? Never mind, I don't care. I'm just glad I don't gotta' work for Maven anymore. Here, ya' did me a favor, I guess I owe you one." He will then provide access to the backyard of the manor and disappear(?) from the game.
Under New Management
Incidentally, this will be Maven's last active quest in the Thieves Guild questline, and it is never resolved whether or not she is happy with how things turned out. Seemingly, she is quite happy as she will make a surprise appearance much later, when you are finally honored for restoring the Thieves Guild during the quest Under New Management. If you haven't done the ceremony, Maven will tell you, "Not now, you idiot. We'll talk after this ridiculous ceremony." If you are about to talk to Brynjolf or have done so, Maven will also say, "I suppose congratulations are in order. Now don't screw it up."
After you have helped rid Wujeeta of her skooma addiction during Helping Hand, you will receive an objective to find the skooma dealer in Riften. When asked, Wujeeta will admit getting the drug from one Sarthis Idren at Riften Warehouse. The warehouse is locked around the clock, but Wujeeta will point you towards the current jarl for the key. If Maven has been appointed jarl, you will have to deal with her to get the key. When you tell her you found a skooma dealer in Riften, she names him right away: "Ah yes, Sarthis... a thorn in my side for the last few years. I've tried repeatedly to eradicate that meddler, but he has ears within the city guard. Gives us the slip every time we raid the warehouse. However, if you'd wish to eliminate that burden for me... well, let's just say it would go a long way with earning my favor." If you reject her, she will get angry: "Let me give you a word of advice. Think about your choices carefully from now on. You'll go much farther in Riften with me on your side." If you accept, she will hand you the warehouse key with the words: "Good. Here, take the key to the warehouse. Pay dear old Sarthis a visit and tell him Maven sends her regards, would you?" Obviously, Sarthis will not survive your visit, and the evidence you find in the warehouse will start the next quest, Supply and Demand.
Supply and Demand
When you report back to Maven, she will state: "Results speak volumes over words and you've just proved it. Did you happen to discover where the fetcher was getting his skooma from?" When you tell her they are at Cragslane Cavern she will not hesitate with a death warrant on the persons responsible: "Then I want you to head out there immediately and eliminate all of them. I can't afford to have another Sarthis blunder into Riften because they think we're too lazy to disrupt their pitiful operation. Do this task for me and you'll be well on your way to a title in Riften." If you reject, she will get angry again: "I'm very disappointed. I'd advise you to rethink that decision soon." If you accept she will just send you on your way with: "Good. Make sure not one of them escapes alive." Once you have cleared Cragslane Cavern, a return to Maven will make her say: "I'll send my men to secure any of the remaining goods you left behind. We can't have that substance falling into the wrong hands now, can we? Here, this should suffice as your cut of the... or rather, a reward for your actions. Now, if you'll excuse me..." This opens up for the final quest with Maven as jarl, specifically I Done Got Thaned!
I Done Got Thaned!
After The Raid and Supply and Demand, Maven will finally be willing to name you Thane of the Rift. You can ask her if there is anything else you can do for Riften and she will answer: "So, I've been hearing your name in court quite a bit lately. I've been informed by my steward that you've made quite an impression in the Rift; the people won't stop blathering about you." She will then tell you what the blathering is about: "Oh don't pretend to be modest. I'm talking about your new role as champion. Apparently, you've taken my people under your wing. If you think you can steal my throne by winning the hearts of the people, that's where you're wrong. Keep that in mind. However, since it wouldn't behoove me to make you disappear, I'd rather have you on my side as Thane of Riften." When you accept the offer, her response depends on whether or not you have purchased a house in Riften. If you own a house, she will say: "You damn well better. I've checked with my court and apparently you're fully eligible... there's nothing standing in the way of presenting you the title." If not, she will instead point you towards Hemming: "Not so fast, there's a matter of residence to be discussed. In order to have the title bestowed upon you, you need to purchase a house within Riften. And by the Eight, aren't you fortunate that my steward has just the place for you to buy. After the place is yours, come back to me and we'll deal with the rest of the nonsense." When you have purchased a house, she will tell you: "I expect that you'll distance yourself from the affairs of state. In other words, keep your nose out of my business and we'll do just fine. Just remember that you're only a part of my court, this doesn't make you one of the family. I guess all that's left is to bestow the title. What were those words again? Doesn't matter... the title is yours. I henceforth name you Thane of Riften. Don't disappoint me."
Promises to Keep
In addition to keeping the Thieves Guild and the Black-Briar Meadery in check, Maven will also face problems with an old accomplice, specifically Louis Letrush who can be found at the Bee and Barb. Not surprisingly, the imprisoned Sibbi Black-Briar has unfinished business and Louis will ask you for help, saying: "Looking for work? I need someone to deliver a message to Sibbi Black-Briar." When asked about the message he will explain his problem: "Ah, well, I recently approached Sibbi Black-Briar about buying Frost, one of the finest breeding horses in Skyrim. He agreed to sell. I paid Sibbi half the cost of Frost up front, but before he could deliver, Maven had him locked up. Sibbi believes this exempts him from our deal. It does not. I want you to talk to Sibbi for me. Then, I want you to bring me Frost and the Lineage Papers that prove the horse's worth." You can then ask him to elaborate on a few things. When asked about why Sibbi is in jail, he will respond: "No idea, but whatever he did it must have angered Maven. No guard would lock up a Black-Briar without the old lady's permission."
When you approach Sibbi Black-Briar in his luxurious cell in Riften Jail and tell him Letrush sent you, he will respond: "Ah, and let me guess. He wants his horse. Well, that's going to be a bit of a problem. You see, I don't really outright 'own' Frost..." When you ask him if he doesn't even own the horse, he will concur: "That is correct. You see, Frost belongs to the Black-Briar estate. Technically everything in the estate is owned by my mother, Maven. My plan was to take the horse from our lodge and deliver it to Letrush at the stables. Obviously, that didn't exactly work out as I'd planned... Still, I don't want to cross Letrush. Tell you what. Steal the horse and deliver it, and you can have the second half of the payment." At this point you can attempt to persuade him. If you fail, he will comment: "Nice try, but my mother's already got me in jail. Maybe you should try that one on Letrush." If you succeed he will offer you a key to a stash of gold: "Sure - take advantage of the guy in jail. Okay, fine. I can make the deal sweeter. I obviously don't have anything here, but... there's a hidden stash in the Lodge. And I did manage to hold on to the key... Take it." Lastly, you can just accept his offer and he will say: "Then I think we're done talking." However, you can still ask him what the logic of stealing Maven's horse is: "I'm not stealing anything. Besides, some jail time isn't going to make me roll over and play dead." Lastly, you can seek advice from the leaders of the Thieves Guild, but to no avail. Brynjolf will say: "So Sibbi finally got the nerve to bare his teeth, eh? Look, this sounds like a family matter and I don't want the Guild in the middle of it. You do what you want. Just don't expect us to at your back when Maven has your head on the executioner's block.", while Delvin Mallory will say: "Guess I should have known. Maven and Sibbi have been at odds ever since she had him tossed into jail. Look, if I were you, I'd proceed carefully. Crossin' Maven is one of the first things you learn not to do when you're down here. As far as the Guild's concerned this is between Sibbi and Maven, so we're going to officially stay out of it."
At this point, you can choose to double-cross both Sibbi and Louis and go directly to Maven and tell her what is happening behind her back (note that this course of action will cause a slight bug). When confronted with the plot to steal Frost, Maven will say: "Don't tell me - Sibbi and Louis Letrush? Well, Sibbi is in jail and Letrush is certainly welcome to try. My hired help is more than a match for him." When you tell her that Louis wants you to steal the horse, she will respond: "Really? Now that is interesting... Then you should know that Louis and I have a certain... history. Tell you what. Go along with his plans for now. I'll keep an eye on you both and, when the time is right, I'll settle accounts with Louis." This will not affect the quest, and you will still have to meet up with Louis Letrush in the forest after stealing Frost. You can then negotiate with him. The option about telling Maven is available regardless of your earlier choices:
|I'm going to Maven unless I leave here with Frost. (Persuade)||Passed: "You're playing a dangerous game, my friend. Fine, you win. Take the horse and leave."
Failed: "And telling her what? That you stole her horse? I don't think so."
|If you were dead, I could keep the horse... (Intimidate)||Passed: "Now wait a minute... No need to do anything drastic. Look, Keep the horse, all right? Then we all walk away happy..."
Failed: "Well ain't that the truth of it. All right, then. Let's see what you've got!"
|Speaking of my pay...||"Yes, yes. Here it is. I think I'd best be off now."|
Regardless of your choice, and even if he ends up threatening you, he will never attack.
During the quest Diplomatic Immunity, Maven will quite often be found at Elenwen's part at the Thalmor Embassy, drifting around and chatting with the other guests. When you approach her she will be surprised: "I don't recall seeing you at one of these before. And I know everyone who's anyone in Skyrim." She will then point towards Razelan, stating: "See that disgusting drunk over there? A high-ranking official in the East Empire Company, believe it or not." If General Tullius is at the party as well, she will comment: "That's General Tullius himself. He can't stand Elenwen, but she insists that he attend these parties. Just to piss him off, no doubt." Your dialogue options with her depend on whether or not you have completed the quest Dampened Spirits. If you have yet to complete it, you will have two options:
What brings you to this party? "To maintain relationships. By the way, I don't know who you are, but unless you want me to blow your cover, I'd advise that you avoid me for the rest of the party."
What's your relationship with the Thalmor? "We have a relationship of mutual respect. I care little about the politics and rivalries between the Thalmor and the Empire. But I do respect power, and the Thalmor have that. They leave me alone, and I leave them alone."
I didn't know you had dealings with the Thalmor. "Have you learned nothing about me? I have dealings with everyone. Now, leave me. I don't want to arouse suspicion by talking to someone that clearly doesn't belong here."
Are you here on guild business? "Don't mention the Guild. In fact, it's better if you don't speak to me at all. This is not the place."
You were supposed to ask her to cause a distraction. However, none of Maven's quests will raise her disposition accordingly, so the option never becomes available. Click the show/hide button to the right to see the missing dialogue.
Rumors and Other Dialogue
- In the basement of the Black-Briar Manor in Riften is a locked room containing the remains of a Black Sacrament ritual, as well as a letter from Maven Black-Briar complaining that her contract has not been carried out.
- Unlike other jarls, Maven will not be exiled to Blue Palace if the Stormcloaks retake Riften and Laila Law-Giver becomes the jarl again. However, after Riften is liberated, Maven can be found walking away from Solitude.[verification needed — Is this true?]
- Lillith Maiden-Loom claims to be friends with Maven, though Maven never mentions her.
- In a cut part of the Stormcloak questline, there was going to be a siege of Riften in the event that you had lost the city in either a battle or as a result of Season Unending. This siege would play out almost exactly the same way that the Battle for Whiterun does in the main game. Upon reaching the throne room, you would be greeted to this exchange (note that this is the same dialogue that would play between Yngvar and Jarl Thongvor Silver-Blood if you were taking the city of Markarth back for the Empire under the same circumstances). Please click the show button for full dialogue.
- Talking to Maul about the Thieves Guild was supposed to give you a dialogue option with Dirge later on; however, due to an oversight, Dirge will never have the dialogue option so his comment about Maul and Maven will never be heard: "Maul? Yeah. That jerk works for Maven Black-Briar now. Left me down here watching this garbage heap. I guess he's better at all that talking stuff anyway. I'd just mess everything up."
- This bug is fixed by version 1.3.1 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
- Anuriel was supposed to tell you about the Black-Briar family when asked; however, the conditions for the topic will never be met, so her praise will never be heard: "Maven Black-Briar is the owner of the largest and most profitable business in all Skyrim, the Black-Briar Meadery. We're pleased to have her in Riften. She brings stability, opportunities for employment and strategic value to our city."
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.4 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
- Romlyn Dreth and Indaryn were supposed to have a conversation related to Dampened Spirits. However, the conditions are set wrong, so it can never be heard:
- Romlyn: "So, what do you think of my plan. You in or out?"
- Indaryn: "If you think make a move like that without asking Maven, you're out of your mind. Doing that would be a fatal mistake."
- Romlyn: "Come on, think about it. She'd reward us!"
- Indaryn: "If you want to go out to Whiterun and burn that meadery down, go right ahead. And when the guard traces it back here, and Maven is implicated, I'll be sure to tell her it was your idea."
Last Dialogue to be Added Somewhere
[verification needed — needs exact conditions for each line of dialogue, and placed in the right spot on the page] Delvin Mallory: "Thanks to Maven Black-Briar, we still have some pull in Riften. But get arrested in Whiterun and you'll be tossed right into the prisons."
???: "I've busted heads for Maven Black-Briar when she wants to keep her name out of it. Pays good, so why not?"
Keerava: "Riften's biggest exports used to be fishing and honey, until the Black-Briar family moved in. Now the meadery is the biggest game in town." and "If Maven Black-Briar keeps raising prices on mead, I'll have to resort to watering it down just to make ends meet."
??: "The Imperials now control Riften and have placed Maven Black-Briar on the Jarl's throne."