- Talk to Festus Krex.
- Find Anton Virane and make him talk.
- Kill Anton Virane.
- Find Balagog gro-Nolob and kill him.
- Take the invitation off of Balagog's corpse.
- (Optional) Hide Balagog's corpse.
- Return to Festus Krex.
A Pinch of Assault
After dealing with Cicero, Astrid is anxious to get back on task. She mentions something about a famous, elusive chef and a crazy scheme to impersonate him while cooking for the Emperor. She then points you to Festus Krex, who will be directing this phase of the Emperor's assassination. Festus explains that your new objective is to kill the Gourmet and while assuming his identity, poison the meal being prepared for the Emperor. What complicates this matter is that the Gourmet's identity is known by only a select few. Luckily, Festus has obtained an autographed copy of the Gourmet's book Uncommon Taste owned by Anton Virane. This suggests that Virane may know the true identity of the Gourmet.
Carving the Cook
Your first task is to track down Anton Virane, obtain the Gourmet's name, and kill Virane to prevent his interference in the operation. He works at Markarth in the Understone Keep kitchen. He is at first not willing to give you any information, but after some special persuasion, he will quickly reveal the name of the Gourmet: an Orc named Balagog gro-Nolob. After he reveals the name it is advisable to tell Virane that he will not be harmed or to remain silent, else he will start running around in a panic. Wait for an opportunity to present itself and kill him, preferably without any pesky witnesses present who could cause you to incur a bounty. Conversely, instead of having him remain in the crowded kitchen it may be better to scare him and have him run out to a more private place where you can kill him with no witnesses. When this is finished, it's on to the main course…
Just a Dash of Blood
Balagog gro-Nolob, the second assassination target for this quest
The Gourmet, Balagog gro-Nolob, can be found at the Nightgate Inn, either inside or outside, depending on the time of day: during the afternoon, he stands at the dock right outside the inn and gazes out over the pond, making it very easy to sneak attack him for a quick kill. After he is dead take the writ of passage from him, and simply drag his body into the pond (see Notes below) to fulfill the bonus objective. Another way to dispose of the body is to use the Unrelenting Force shout to send it into the water. At night, Balagog gro-Nolob can be found in the Nightgate Inn Cellar, which can be entered either from inside the inn or via a small hatch near the north exterior wall. Balagog will be asleep much of the time, but as there are no witnesses, the kill will be easy whether he is awake or not. When presented with an opportunity, kill him and take the Writ of Passage from his corpse. Make sure not to kill him in the chair that he sits in because his body may get trapped in the chair, rendering him unable to be dragged to a hiding spot. To successfully hide the body in the cellar, drag him behind the haystack or drop him into the large barrel at the end of the cellar next to the ladder. If you kill him while he cowers behind the wine barrels, this will automatically count as hiding the body. You may also have a small conversation with him:
|"You've served your last meal... Gourmet."
||"Gourmet? Why I... Um... Oh dear. You're going to kill me now, aren't you?"
||Cowers behind the barrels of wine.
|"Soon, the Emperor will die. Murdered, by the Gourmet."
||"What? The Emperor? But I... Oh. Oh, by the gods, no. No, you can't do this. You can't!"
||Cowers behind the barrels of wine.
||"Yes, well. Perhaps the proprietor of this establishment can assist you. Please, you're starting to... frighten me."
No More Soup for You
With the Writ of Passage in hand, return to the sanctuary for your reward. Astrid greets you with special news: All of the pieces are in place, and the time is at hand. She instructs you to head to Castle Dour in Solitude to fulfill your duties as Listener.
- If Balagog drops his dagger when he is killed, it will still count as part of his body, allowing you to drag just the dagger to one of the hiding locations specified above to satisfy the bonus requirements of this quest. This is useful if you are having difficulty dragging his body.
- Balagog's corpse may be positioned in or around furniture after dying, making it impossible to drag it to a hiding place and complete the bonus objective.
- Sometimes casting Firebolt or similar AOE spells on his body may free his body from the furniture.
- The guards at Understone Keep may be hostile due to an earlier bounty, and you may be unable to clear that bounty.
- When talking to Anton Virane, you can exit dialogue before telling him you are going to kill him, then restart dialogue with him and repeat the intimidation check to get additional Speech experience. This can be repeated as often as you like to level your Speech skill.
- Occasionally, when attempting to take the Gourmet's Writ of Passage, it will not show up in his inventory. ?
- You can give the Gourmet the Writ by going into the console, clicking on the Gourmet, and then entering
additem 0003beb6 1.
- Alternatively, you can enter
setstage db08 200 to complete the quest,
player.additem 3beb6 1 to give yourself the Writ, then
setstage db09 10 to start the next quest.
|Recipe for Disaster (DB08)
||I must speak with Festus Krex about my next target, the renowned chef known only as the "Gourmet."
Objective 2: Report to Festus Krex
||I have been tasked with killing the Gourmet, but only one person knows the famous chef's true identity and location - a man named Anton Virane. I must get this information from Anton Virane, and then kill him.
Objective 4: Question Anton Virane
Objective 6: Kill Anton Virane
||I must kill the Gourmet, who is actually an Orc named Balagog gro-Nolob. Once he's dead, I must steal his Writ of Passage. And, if I can manage to hide the body, I'll receive a bonus.
Objective 10: Kill Balagog gro-Nolob
Objective 20: Take the Writ of Passage
Objective 30: Report back to Festus Krex
||The Gourmet is dead, and I'm now in possession of his Writ of Passage. Soon, I will take his place as chef for the Emperor...
Objective 15: (Optional) Drag Balagog's body to a hiding place
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 255.