Ria Silmane was the apprentice of Jagar Tharn. After Tharn took over the Imperial throne, he murdered Ria because he was not able to corrupt her. However, she kept her spirit bound to the mortal plane via her magic; yet her energy reserves were constantly draining, limiting the time she had left.
She first appears to you in the Imperial Prison. Ria gives you a ruby key to open the prison cell and teleports you far away from the Imperial City using a Shift Gate. After your escape, she becomes the guide through the entire main quest, appearing in dreams to give the latest information she learns about the Staff of Chaos. After you finally collect all eight pieces of the Staff of Chaos, Ria uses up the last of her energy to help you infiltrate the Imperial Palace. Ria Silmane then presumably travels to the Aetherius.
Escape From Prison
She first appears at the beginning of Arena and greets you with:
- "Do not fear for it is I, Ria Silmane. (Player's Name), listen to me, there are no others left to carry on this fight. You have been left in this cell to die. Jagar Tharn, Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel has taken on the guise of the true Emperor. He does not see you as a threat, being only a minor part of the Imperial Court. In that act of arrogance, he has made his first mistake. Look to the north wall of this cell. You will find a ruby key which will unlock the door. Take it and make your escape. The passages here were once used by Tharn to hide treasures he had stolen from the Emperor's coffers. If you wish, you can gather enough to support yourself away from the Imperial Seat. Be careful, there are many creatures which inhabit the sewers now, vile rats and goblins. It is too late for me, for I am already dead. Only my powers as a Sorceress keep me between this life and the next. That power however is waning. Do not succumb to greed or you may find these tunnels to be your final resting place as well. I can still work my magic to a certain extent. If you travel west from this cell, then south, you will find a Shift Gate. It will transport you far enough from the center of the Empire that you should be safe. If you survive these sewers you will see me again. Remember, (player's name), Tharn has taken on the guise of the Emperor. No one will gainsay his word for yours. I will come to you again in your dreams, so it is imperative that you rest from time to time. In that way I will be able to communicate with you and lend my aid. You are entering a dangerous arena, my friend, one in which the players are beings beyond your mortal comprehension. I do not envy your role. There is however a power within you as yet untapped. Look for me when you have gained experience in the world. You are my last and best hope."
The first time you go to sleep after escaping the Imperial Prison, you will be contacted in your dreams again by Ria Silmane. She will say:
- "I see you have strengthened your arm, and your mind. It is time we began this journey. This is the Staff of Chaos, the one item that can open the door between this world, and the dimension to which the Emperor has been banished. Tharn used this item to destroy my corporeal form when I tried to warn the Council. He knew that the Staff of Chaos was nigh indestructible, having been made from the essence of the Land itself. But in that he found the key. As the land is split, so did he shatter the Staff into eight perfectly formed pieces. These he scattered across the realm. I have been able to divine the location of the first piece, a place called Fang Lair. It is said that Fang Lair was originally built by the Dwarves of Kragen. Legend has it that a Great Wyrm drove the Dwarves from their home in the Dragon's Teeth, and took the Lair for itself. I only wish I knew the exact location. Perhaps there are sages, or scholars who would know of this place. Somewhere in its dank depths lies the first piece of the Staff of Chaos. I wish you well. I do not think Tharn knows of your escape, but I can do little else in this form. I have tried to obscure your identity with a spell, but I do not know how well it will hide you. Take care for Tharn may be searching. Go forth with the blessings of the true Emperor, and myself..."
After you retrieve the first piece of the Staff of Chaos, Ria Silmane will appear to you in your dreams yet again, the next time you sleep. This time, she will say:
- "It seems that you were well chosen. I see that you have won the first piece of the Staff. That in and of itself is not a simple task. Tharn, it seems, is not as concerned with you as I had thought he would be. Perhaps he thinks you dead or lost in the sewers from which you escaped. That is well, for I have discovered the second piece's location. There was once a great maze, built by the Archmagus Shalidor to guard what he called Glamorill, the elven term for 'The Secret of Life'. I know not the location of the great maze, which was called the Labyrinthian, but somewhere in its twisted corridors lies the second piece of the Staff of Chaos. Shalidor, according to the old texts, made his home in the Fortress of Ice. He would not have built the Labyrinthian far from his home. I would search to the north for such a place. I wish you well on your journey..."
The next time you sleep after retrieving the second piece of the Staff of Chaos, you will yet again be visited by Ria Silmane. This time, she will say:
- "I would congratulate you on retrieving the second piece of the Staff of Chaos, but dire portents have I seen. The third piece of the Staff lies somewhere in the Elden Grove, ancient home of the Elves. The Elden Grove is said to be the birthplace of the sacred First Tree, that which gave life to all the forests on the continent of Tamriel. Its location has been a closely guarded secret, so guarded in fact that many believe that even the Elves have forgotten its true location. Considering that there are only three provinces that hold any of the Elven people, your search should not be too difficult. Find the Elden Grove and recover the third piece of the Staff. I wish you well on your quest..."
The Halls of Colossus
As before, go to sleep and see Ria Silmane in your dreams. She will say:
- "You have done well. I had thought you lost to me. The third piece of the Staff is yours. Rumors have been whispered about in the Empire. I think Tharn senses that the pieces come together. You must take care to not be discovered by him-your death would be most unpleasant. I have divined the location of the fourth piece of the Staff. It lies in the Halls of Colossus, a structure built to honor a race of Giants, though none have been seen in the land for ages. It is said that the Halls of Colossus sat perched on a cliff overlooking the Great Divide, which is along the southern edge of Tamriel. Perhaps the Halls are near that coastline. I only wish I could offer you more. Fare thee well my friend, and find this place, for the sake of our loved ones..."
Ria Silmane will visit you the next time you sleep after retrieving a piece of the Staff of Chaos from Elsweyr. She will tell you:
- "You have recovered the fourth piece! I honor your bravery. Listen closely now my friend, for Tharn has begun in earnest to look for you. Do not fear, he does not know your true identity, but he can sense the Staff's power. With four of the eight pieces, you stand out like a lantern at night. I urge you to caution. The fifth piece of the Staff lies in an ancient stronghold of sorcery called the Crystal Tower. It was said that the southern tip of the Dragon's Teeth, which stretches from the ice covered mounts of High Rock to the wooded forests of Valenwood, could be seen on the horizon from the top parapet of the Tower. This would lead me to believe it is not far south of the majestic mountain range. You must find the Tower and gain access to recover the fifth piece of the Staff of Chaos..."
Crypt of Hearts
Go to sleep again and Ria Silmane will speak to you:
- "It has become a habit, congratulating you on your success. Still, there are three pieces left, and what guards them only the Divine Lady may know. I have spent many a day searching the ethereal planes for some clue as the location of the sixth piece of the Staff. This is what I have found. The piece was sent to a place called the Crypt of Hearts. I have no clue as to the location of such a place. The price for the little knowledge I have was... exacting. Still, only three provinces remain that can hold these last pieces. It can only lie in one of these. Good luck..."
As usual, go to sleep and Ria Silmane will visit you. This time, she says:
- "Tharn is livid, scattering about the Imperial Palace like a rabid dog. You have caused him no end of worry. I am sure the Wizard's minions are tracking you. I will say no more, lest I tempt Fate. You seek now the seventh piece of the Staff of Chaos. I have found that this piece lies in a place called Murkwood, the dark forest that ever moves. There can only be one of two provinces left that can hold this forest, Black Marsh or Morrowind. I would start my search in one of these..."
Go to sleep and Ria Silmane will visit you again, saying:
- "I would take no chances, for Tharn has no mercy and will attack the moment he perceives the Staff reassembled. You must be swift. To the northeast lies the fire mountain, Dagoth-Ur. Somewhere in its volcanic depths is the final piece of the Staff of Chaos. The entrance to that fabled mountain has disappeared with the Dwarves that mined it. There may still be those who know of it, however. Find the entrance, enter the volcanic catacombs, and return with the final piece of the Staff. We are so close, I wish you well..."
The Imperial Palace
There is a theoretical last message from Ria, but a bug in the 1.06 version of Arena (and possibly the other versions, too) causes the game to not show you that message. It's Tharn's taunting that brings you to the palace, if anything does. If the game did give voice to Ria, here's what she would say:
- "I had expected that with all eight pieces together, the Staff of Chaos would activate and free the Emperor. None of this has occurred, and I finally know why. Held by Tharn is a gem of the rarest qualities. Legend has that it is a star fallen from the sky, for it glows with an inner flame. This is the Jewel of Fire, and the crucible of Tharn's life force. It is also the thing in which Tharn has suffused all of the energy of the Staff. If you can touch the Staff to this Jewel, the release of that combined energy may be enough to destroy the Staff of Chaos and open the gate between worlds. If you are successful, Tharn will no doubt be destroyed as well. There is only one way to get this Jewel. You must make your way into the Imperial Palace and find wherever Tharn has hidden it. Be warned, once inside Tharn will throw the full might of the Palace Guards and those creatures made to resemble the Imperial Guard against you. They are but puppets of Tharn's machinations. Have mercy on them, for they know not what they serve. With Tharn, however, such care need not be taken. If you are successful a dimensional door should open, freeing the Emperor. With the Jewel drained of energy Tharn should also perish. There is a problem however with this course of action. Tharn, in his fear, has made the Imperial Palace inaccessible. If you have been there you already know the Guards are under orders to turn all who approach back. I think that I can circumvent this with a Spell of Altering but it will mean the last of the energy holding me in this form. I will gladly sacrifice myself however, so that Tharn can pay for his betrayal. The spell I cast will alter other's perceptions of your appearance. The Guards posted outside the Imperial Palace should be fooled and allow you entry. I only hope it will be enough. You have done more than a hero could be asked. This is the final step of a long journey. Take heart and go forward with my blessings. I thank you, in the Emperor's name."
If you die during your travels, Ria will appear and admonish you. She will talk about how the last hope for the empire is lost and wish you peace in Aetherius. This only occurs if you haven't collected any pieces of the Staff of Chaos:
- "With you died our last hope for justice. Tharn is now free to do as he will. It saddens me to see the beautiful land of Tamriel rotting from within. Goodbye, (Player's name). I wish you peace in the afterworld..."
- Although Ria knows where the pieces of the staff are hidden, she only provides vague information at best. You must find the entrance to these ruins and infiltrate them on your own.