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- Receive a letter from Queen Barenziah of Wayrest.
- Meet her at Castle Wayrest and learn what she wants.
- Steal the book from Gortwog, or reclaim it from the The Necromancers if they get to it first.
- Return the book to either Gortwog or Barenziah for a reward.
Barenziah's Other Biography
After you have met the quest requirements, you will receive a message:
- A page wearing the colors and pale yellow rose of Wayrest appears silently at your side. He hands you a letter and disappears as quietly as he arrived.
Check your inventory to find the letter, which reads:
- "Thank you for responding to my letter, (player's first name). It is very difficult for a queen of a powerful nation, and a queen whose home is far away, to trust any mercenary. That is why when my dear child Helseth told me about you, I was so quick to write. There is a rather sensitive situation brewing, and I need someone I can trust to correct some wayward revolutionaries. For (random gold) gold pieces, will you perform such a service for me? I am also prepared to reward you with information as well as gold."
Accept her offer, and she replies:
- "I am glad to hear it. Some years ago, a disgruntled, and possibly deranged, scribe of mine wrote a biography of me which my worst enemy would call cruel and defamatory. Because the book was also excessively critical of the Empire and Septim Imperial family, it was wisely suppressed and its author executed. Unfortunately, chapters of the book resurface from time to time. I have reason to believe one chapter of the book has been purchased by the orcs of Orsinium, who are attempting to publish it. I need it removed from their stronghold, also named Orsinium. Time is of the essence. I'm sure Gortwog will not wait long. Once the chapter is safe, we will talk further about your ambitions."
The Stronghold of Orsinium is found in the Orsinium Area region and appears on your map as a dungeon. Head there to retrieve the offending manuscript. The time limit for this quest lasts several months starting from when you receive Barenziah's letter, but you may still wish to hurry; if you don't get it within six days of speaking with the queen the manuscript will be stolen by the Necromancers.
If You Beat the Necromancers to Orsinium
Upon entering the stronghold you will find yourself in the main hall, together with Gortwog and three orcs. The warlord will not attack you unless provoked, but the soldier will attack you as soon as he detects you. Go past Gortwog and through the left door at the back of the great hall. Once you open the door the orc shaman will attack you. Follow the hallway up and go through the door. Beware of the various orc warriors and shamans you will encounter along your way. In the bowels of the stronghold you may even encounter some Daedroths.
Follow the hallway further upwards.
Follow the hallway until you come to an intersection, from there go south.
Follow the hallway until you come to a sort of dining room. Leave the room through the west door.
Go down the hallway and through the door.
Walk down the hallway until you come to a door. Go through it and you will find yourself in a huge chamber with a hollow truncated pyramid.
The manuscript you seek is in a room down at the base of the pyramid, but the doors are magically locked. To unseal them, you need to reach the upper level. However, if you have an Open spell and can cast it a few times, you can go directly down and open the doors with your magic. Otherwise, you must unlock them first. If you cannot Levitate to the level above by yourself, jump into the fountain in the northeast corner of the chamber and it will teleport you to the platform right above the pyramid. Alternatively, you can take the staircase behind the south door, which will also lead to the upper level.
From there, take the west staircase up. At the first intersection, head east then go south to reach a second intersection. Head east again past a third intersection and turn north at the fourth intersection. If you follow this way to the end you will encounter an orc warlord standing just in front of a handwheel. Kill him and turn the wheel; it will unlock the doors down in the truncated pyramid.
Go back and down to the bottom of the pyramid, either jump or use magic. Take care of the various orcs that will waiting at the bottom and enter the east room. The manuscript you seek is just in front of you on a pedestal. To get out of the pyramid either levitate or pull the lever in the east room. It will assemble some stairs, that you can climb to reach a handwheel. Turning this wheel will teleport you to the platform above the pyramid. Return the manuscript either to Barenziah or Gortwog.
If the Necromancers Beat You to the Book
If you haven't retrieved the book within six days, you will receive a vision:
- A misty shape forms in your mind. An orc shaman! It gives way to a regal orc, wearing a crown.
- " The book you are looking for is no longer in Orsinium. The Necromancers have stolen it from us. If you are available, we are interested in pooling our resources against this mutual enemy. Please do not be so foolish as to assume that the orcs are your enemy, simply because we are orcs. If you are interested, come to me at Orsinium Hall in Orsinium.
- The face vanishes, leaving you with only a memory.
If you wish to answer his bidding, head to the Stronghold of Orsinium and enter. Take care of any attackers and speak to Gortwog, who says:
- "Hello, (player's name). It would seem that we have a mutual antagonist in the King of Worms. I am Gortwog, King of the Orcs and Lord of Orsinium. I am willing to give you a (jewelry) if you would retrieve the chapter of Barenziah's book from Scourg Barrow in the Dragontail Mountains, where the King and his Necromancers have taken it. Agreed?"
Agree, and Gortwog sends you off by saying: "Very good. Off with you then." Reject his offer, and he says: "What a shame. Ah well, we'll hire some other mercenary then." Note that even if you refuse his offer, you can still go to Scourg Barrow and retrieve the book.
Travel to Scourg Barrow in the Dragontail Mountains. It will be easiest to leave this place if you drop a Recall anchor near the entrance.
In the first room of Scourg Barrow, open the second coffin from your left to reveal a secret pitfall.
Drop down and follow the passage to a room with eight doors and two zombies doors, go through the door immediately to your left.
Follow the hallway until you reach a fork.
Instead of turning left, which would lead you to the King of Worms, turn right and go up, past a grizzly bear. Open the door at the end of the hallway and descend into the rift. There is no path leading down, so you must either jump down or use magic.
Follow the rift south, engage the animals along the way and then turn east.
Follow the rift further south, but beware of humanoid enemies along the way.
Turn west and you will eventually reach a spot with four passages. The first passage north leads to the book, but it is blocked by a closed portcullis. There is a hidden passage to the south. Although it is well hidden, it is clearly visible on your map. Clicking the wall of the cave will open this passage, follow it.
When you reach a small circular cave, kill the foe there and turn the handwheel on the ground, this will open the portcullis.
Go back to the rift and enter the now open passage to the north.
I've Got the Book, Now What?
The manuscript in question is a copy of The Real Barenziah, part VI. You are free to read it if you wish to see what all the fuss is about.
You have the choice of either giving the book back to Barenziah or to Gortwog. Your reputation will increase with the recipient and associated factions. Additionally, if you retrieved the book from Scourg Barrow your reputation will fall with whoever you did not choose to give the book to, and the Necromancers will simply hate you for stealing the book from them.
If you give the book to Gortwog, he rewards you with a random piece of jewelry (see bugs), and says:
- "Very well done, (player's first name). Here is your (jewelry). Nevermind what I will do with this chapter. However, I would steer clear of Queen Barenziah for a while if I were you."
If you give the book to Barenziah, the reward will be a random amount of gold (plus information if you snatched the book from the Necromancers). Return the book to Queen Barenziah and she will say:
- "Very well done. Prince Helseth did not exaggerate your virtues. Here is the (random gold) gold pieces I promised."
If you recovered the book from Scourg Barrow, the queen also offers up some information (see bugs). She says:
- "Thank Boethiah you found it before those horrible orcs could retrieve it again. I heard all about them losing the chapter to the King of Worms. (Random god), what a crisis it would have been if they had published it. Here is (random gold) gold for your services.
- You may not know this, but not only is Gortwog the holder of that letter the Emperor lost some months ago, but he is also contending for an ancient relic called the Totem of Tiber Septim. If that cannibal gets his warted hands on the Totem, it could mean the end of Wayrest, and possibly all civilization on the Iliac Bay. We may need your able services again, (player's first name)."
If you return the book to Gortwog, you will gain/lose reputation according to the table below.
|Orsinium's associated Factions||+7|
|Wayrest's associated Factions||-10|
If you return the book to Barenziah, you will gain reputation according to the table below.
|Wayrest's associated Factions||+5|
If you retrieved the book from Scourg Barrow, you will lose additional reputation according to the table below.
|The King of Worms||-20|
(Allies/Enemies affiliations for listed factions are not considered)
Stronghold of Orsinium:
- The overall time limit of this quest is 150 days, starting from the moment you get Barenziah's note.
- The book the queen wants found is part of the multi-volume The Real Barenziah. The book also appears in slightly altered form in Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. This later version is condensed into five volumes, and the book has apparently become quite common despite Barenziah's attempts to suppress it. Also, one of the more scandalous passages has been censored by the Tribunal Temple, though the content of Part VI (from this quest) appears in its entirety.
- The queen states that she had the book's anonymous scribe executed. In fact, not only does the author appear, quite alive, in the Morrowind expansion pack Tribunal, Barenziah will speak of him as a trusted friend.
- Even if you beat the Necromancers to Orsinium, speaking to Gortwog will bring up his dialogue asking you to retrieve the book as if it has already been stolen.
- This bug is fixed by DFQFIX; you will not be able to speak to Gortwog if the Necromancers haven't stolen the book yet. However, you may still return the book to him for his reward.
- The jewelry you receive as a reward from Gortwog is flagged as a quest item, and disappears when the quest ends upon giving the book to Gortwog. As a result, you will not get the reward.
- This bug is fixed by DFQFIX; the jewelry is made permanent.
- Even if you retrieve the book from the Necromancers, Queen Barenziah may still not offer you the information she promises.
- This bug is fixed by DFQFIX; Barenziah will now give you the promised information.
After you have accepted this quest, NPCs may say when asked for any news:
- "Queen Barenziah is supposedly in a bad mood. You can never tell though."
- "A book's coming out with the real story about the former Queen of Mournhold."
If you fail the quest, NPCs may say when asked for any news:
- "The Necromancers supposedly have something they're blackmailing Barenziah with."
- "Queen Barenziah's men are searching for someone called the King of Worms."
If you successfully complete the quest, NPCs may say when asked for any news:
- "That book about Queen Barenziah apparently never made it as far as the presses."
- "Queen Barenziah has been singing the praises of some (player's race) adventurer she hired."
Depending on how the quest ends, you may also hear:
- "Queen Barenziah is said to be frantically trying to keep that book unpublished."
- "The King of Worms has repelled several agents sent against him by Wayrest."
- "Now you can find the scandalous, unauthorized biography of Queen Barenziah."
- "Queen Barenziah's scandalous biography was finally published, to her horror."
- "I bet that biography of Queen Barenziah doesn't even exist at all."
- "The King of Worms is supposedly sending the Necromancers after a (player's race) mercenary."
|Barenziah's Book (S0000011)|
|Finishes Quest||Journal Entry|
|0||(Date): Queen Barenziah has hired me to find a chapter of a libelous book about her that has been circulating around the Bay. She believes it to be in the dungeons of Orsinium, home of the orc warlord Gortwog.|
|1||(Date): The orcish warlord, Gortwog of Orsinium, has hired me to continue the quest that the Queen of Wayrest began: finding the lost chapter of her biography. Rumor has it that it is in the Necromancers stronghold, Scourg Barrow, in the Dragontail Mountains.|
|Prev: Blackmail||Up: Main Quest||Next: Orcish Emancipation|