Online:A Hireling of House Telvanni

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Quick Summary: written by Jeancey, not checked

Walkthrough: written by Jeancey, not checked

Quest Stages: written by Jeancey, not checked
Help Sun-in-Shadow earn her freedom.
Zone: Vvardenfell
Objective: Sadrith Mora — Help the Argonian slave, Sun-in-Shadow, gain her freedom.
Quest Giver: Eoki
Location(s): Sadrith Mora, Zaintiraris, Tel Branora
Next Quest: Rising to Retainer
Reward: Robe of Ambition
Average Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Standard Experience XP
ID: 5799
Sun-in-Shadow freed
Two Argonian slaves named Eoki and Sun-in-Shadow have hatched a plot to win their freedom from the Dark Elves of House Telvanni.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Speak to Eoki.
  2. Talk to Sun-in-Shadow.
  3. Find Eraven Onthim's Chambers.
  4. Take Magister Therana's Correspondence.
  5. Find the Finger Bone of Saint Felms.
  6. Convince Therana to Support Sun-in-Shadow.
  7. Deliver the Writ to Eraven Onthim.
  8. Meet Sun-in-Shadow in the Council Chamber.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

A freedom-seeking Argonian[edit]

Eoki needs help

While in Sadrith Mora, an Argonian by the name of Eoki will make a request for assistance:

If you're meeting Eoki for the first time:
If you have completed Broken Bonds:
"Mind your step. I would not want you to step on this random patch of grass. I jest, of course. The Telvanni force me to work, but I make sure it brings them no pleasure.
I see you wear no shackles. Do you seek work? I know someone who needs help."
"Ah, it warms my scales to see you once more, my friend. I wish I could thank you for my freedom, but as you can see, it was short lived.
I see you still wear no shackles. Will you aid me once more? I know someone who needs help."
Tell me more.
"In truth, you would be helping many Saxhleel. Myself included.
During my latest escape attempt, I met an amber beauty with eyes like summer rain. Her lukiul name is Sun-in-Shadow, but I call her my heart. She hatches a plan to set us free."
What do you need me to do?
"Seek her out in Tel Naga. If I know my heart, she will be sunning herself in the light of some book. Always reading, that one. Always learning.
If all goes to plan, she will read her books beside me in the boughs of a Hist. Soon, I hope."
All right. I'll go talk to Sun-in-Shadow.
"Walk with Sithis, my friend—and mind the Telvanni. They spin lies like an elder at the yarn-wheel."
How did you end up here?
"I ventured too far from the Hist and did not heed the bird-signs. Dark Elf slavers spine-hooked me near Thorn.
I escaped four times, but never for long. Eventually the Telvanni bought me—at a discount, I am told. I take pride in that, at least."
(if Argonian) Is this legal? Why do I see so many of my fellow Argonians in bondage?
"Mortal laws are slippery things—like greased eels. The Ebonheart Pact outlawed Saxhleel slavery to placate our people. Unfortunately, House Telvanni refused to join the Pact. So they are free to gather up our egg-kin by the bushel."
(if non-Argonian) Is this legal?
"Laws are slippery things. The Ebonheart Pact outlawed Argonian slavery, but House Telvanni refused to join the Pact.
In truth, I cannot imagine how they would live without slaves. The magisters are like overstuffed crocodiles—dangerous, but lazy."
Can I help you break free?
"I thank you for your offer, but I tire of breaking free only to be recaptured a day later. Sun-in-Shadow's plan will earn us a lasting freedom.
If you help her, you help me."
Who are the Telvanni, exactly?
"Mages, mostly. Members of the so-called Great House Telvanni—one of the four Great Houses of the Dark Elves.
They love using that word … great. Great at ruining lives, perhaps."
(if Argonian) So they all keep our people as slaves?
"Not just our people, Hist-child. Khajiit as well.
For a Telvanni, life is nothing but a cheap struggle for mastery and control. Mastery of their dry-skinned magicks, control of their mushroom towers, and dominion over people. People like us."
(if Argonian) So they all keep Argonians as slaves?
"Yes. And Khajiit also.
You see, for a Telvanni, life is nothing but a cheap struggle for mastery and control. Mastery of their dry-skinned magicks, control of their mushroom towers, and dominion over people. People like us."

Sun-in-Shadow's Plan[edit]


Sun-in-Shadow will be found cleaning for her Telvanni masters:

"Yes? Can I help you, serjo?"
Sun-in-Shadow? Eoki sent me.
"Bless his eyes. Yes, I'm Sun-in-Shadow. Eoki told you I have a plan to earn our freedom, right? It will require finesse and discretion. I trust that I can count on you for both.
To earn my freedom, I need the help of Magister Therana."
Magister Therana?
"She's a recently elevated Telvanni magister. Not so set in her ways as the others, and probably more likely to remember her early struggles.
I know she wants something from Zaintiraris. I need to find out what it is, then get it for her."
Do you have any idea what she wants?
"I'm afraid not. I traded in some favors to get a better idea of what she's seeking, but I learned very little. Apparently, her Mouth, Eraven Onthim, has some correspondence that might give us a clue.
I need that letter."
(if Argonian) Argonians aren't chattel. You should already be free, like me.
"You sound like Eoki. I'm an Argonian, true. But I'm also Telvanni, as were my parents. The Hist can't help us here. We must count on our wits.
I've studied spellcraft since before I could lift a broom. All I need now is the sponsorship of a magister."
(if non-Argonian) You can earn your freedom?
"Oh yes! House Telvanni has its warts, but it's a true meritocracy. With enough guile and cunning even a lowly slave can sit on the council!
I've studied spellcraft since before I could lift a broom. All I need now is the sponsorship of a magister."
How do you earn the magister's approval?
"Therana's been haranguing the Council—trying to get their help in claiming Zaintiraris from House Redoran. She wants something in that shrine. I aim to get it for her.
Her Mouth, Eraven Onthim, has a letter that contains the clues we need."
I'll try to get the information for you.
"Be cautious in the Council House, sera. House Telvanni is not just some beast you can slay. In this place, subtlety will serve you better than any shield.
We have to play the game."
You've told me how this plan helps you, but how does it help Eoki?
"Truthfully? It doesn't. Not yet.
Telvanni plots take time to develop. If I demand Eoki's freedom too early, I show my hand. Suddenly, he's a valuable piece in the game—moved and sacrificed as the magisters see fit."
So you're protecting him by keeping him in chains?
"Do I sense a rebuke? It's not ideal, I know.
Look, I treasure Eoki. He's placed his trust in me. I hope you'll do the same."
How did you and Eoki meet?
"Ah. It was during one of his many escape attempts.
I was cleaning Master Otheri's tableware when Eoki burst through the kitchen door, dragging his chains behind him. He threw open the window and started to climb through it … then he saw me."
"He hesitated—even smiled. You don't see Marsh slaves smile much. Certainly not when they're being chased by nix-hounds.
They dragged him off and threw him in the dry-box. He told me he'd spend a year in there if it meant seeing me again."
You two seem pretty different.
"There's an old alchemist's proverb. "No reaction is ever so forceful as the mixing of opposing components." A mouthful, I know, but it fits.
Eoki and I occupy different poles on the same sphere. He keeps me grounded. I keep him safe."

Playing the Game[edit]

Tel Naga
Brelan needs a favor

Travel to Eraven Onthim's Chambers, where Brelan Neloren will be surprised by your intrusion:

Brelan Neloren : "And who might you be?"

After beginning conversation with him, he will start by saying:

"Master Eraven is away on business. Has been for some time, in fact. I know a prowler when I see one. What do you want?"
I'm just looking around.
"No one just wanders into a Council Mouth's office looking around. I should report you.
What are you really after? And do be honest. We've already wasted enough time here."
I'm looking for a letter.
"Ah, the one about Zaintiraris, is it?
Well, I could call the guard and be about my day, but I am a Telvanni, after all. We don't turn away an opportunity when it presents itself. Perhaps you could help me with a problem I've run into."
What did you have in mind?
"It's a matter of literature, or lack thereof.
I wrote a poem, you see—a cloying, drunken mess of a poem. The post delivered it to my darling Ethrandora just this morning. If you get it away from her, the letter is yours."
That seems fair. Where is Ethrandora?
"She spends most of her time in the study, here in the Council Hall. She's very diligent. Always leaning over one book or another. And the way she licks her thumb when she turns the pages …. Sorry.
You'll find her in the study. Yes."
Why is it so important to get the poem back? It doesn't seem like a big deal.
"The poem's terrible! Plus, if word got to my parents that I'd been courting a Wood Elf, I'd be written out of the will. Repeatedly. With red ink.
Then there's also the possibility of blackmail."
Blackmail? Over a poem? Really?
"Why do you think Ethrandora keeps it on her?
She knows that if Master Eraven gets wind of this, he might dismiss me from his service. Clever minx. Working for a Council Mouth is a fine occupation, f'lah. I can't risk losing it."
Why did you send her the poem in the first place?
"She's such a pretty, dainty thing. Not at all like those other scrawny acorn-elves.
Add a half bottle of shein to a lusty heart and you wind up with some very poor decisions."
"Sorry, friend. We have nothing else to discuss. If you want this letter, you'll have to bring back that poem."

Ethrandora will be found where Brelan claims, studying intently, making her rather vulnerable to a pickpocket.

After retrieving the poem, Brelan will be exasperated at your return:

Brelan Neloren : "I hope this is good news."
"Well? Did you get my poem?"
I have it.
"Quick, give it here! Phew. What a relief.
All right, f'lah, I'm going to burn this embarrassment. I sure hope I didn't leave Master Eraven's correspondence box unlocked. That would be careless in the extreme. Farewell!"
Hide the ink when next you drink!


A fair trade, a poem for a letter.

As he leaves the room he'll say:

Brelan Neloren : "Good riddance to bad writing."

The letter can be found in the now unlocked correspondence box, as Brelan promised.

With the letter retrieved, Sun-in-Shadow will be ready with the next part of her plan: :"There you are. I was afraid you'd been compromised.
Were you successful? Did Onthim have anything worth reading?"

Therana wants a relic hidden away in Zaintiraris.
"May I?
Ah, a saint's relic. Saint Felms? Never heard of him. Hmm, says here the Redoran want it too—to squirrel away in some musty old chapel, no doubt. We need to make sure Therana gets it before they do."
How do you propose we do that?
"Looks like the shrine is locked, protected by some puzzle-ward. Luckily, the letter provides some hints on how to break in.
Solve the puzzle, grab the relic, then make haste to Tel Branora. Therana should be there. Offer her the relic on my behalf."
How confident are you that Therana will trade the relic for her sponsorship?
"Somewhere between certain and apprehensive? The Telvanni respect all clever schemes and love to barter. This little intrigue will prove my worth, I know it.
Then again, she could just try to take the relic by force."
What then?
"Run? Telvanni magisters wield magicks that put Julianos to shame.
Of course, you're quite the hero in your own right. Hopefully it doesn't come to that."
"Do be careful in Zaintiraris. The Mad God put his fingerprints all over that place. I … we've got a lot riding on you."
A Puzzle of Skulls


Zaintiraris is a Daedric ruin dedicated to Sheogorath, and is also sealed with a magical lock. A note nearby contains the musings of someone falling for Sheogorath's influence, but also contains the solution to the puzzle. Light the brazier with two skulls next to it, then the one with three, then the one with five, then finally the one with six. (If you count the braziers clockwise starting with the one next to the staircase, the orders of the braziers to lit is 1, 4, 7, and 5.) Once done, the door to Zaintiraris will unseal, and the ghostly voice of Hundilion will speak: "The door is open! Open at last! Hee-hee!"

Inside of Zaintiraris lurk several Daedra, such as scamps. Now inside, you'll find the central chamber is locked. Travel to the Inner Sanctum at the far end of the ruin and retrieve the key, which is guarded by a watcher named Izhavi the Petty. In the central chamber, opposite a statue of Sheogorath, is a chest which will open with an explosion of confetti. Inside, you will find Saint Felms's finger bone, and have all you need to convince Magister Therana to make a deal.

Convincing Therana[edit]

Tel Branora

After traveling to Tel Branora, locate Magister Therana's Tower. Distinctly, the tower is still mostly stone, indicating her relatively new rank among the Telvanni. Go inside, and up the lift to her personal chambers.

Inside her chambers, you will find her working on her studies. Speaking to her will have say:

"Oh, excellent. Another clumsy adventurer bumbles into my home. I really must put a hex on that lift ….
Have you come to rob me? That would go very poorly for you."
My name is <Character Name>. I come on behalf of Sun-in-Shadow, an Argonian in Sadrith Mora.
"Sun-in-Shadow … ah, yes. I know the lizard. An enterprising young mage, if memory serves. Don't look so surprised. Her magical abilities are the worst-kept secret in Sadrith Mora.
What does she want? I hope you bring more than boring salutations."
I have the finger bone of Saint Felms, taken from Zaintiraris.
"Do you now? Well she is a clever one, isn't she? Even convinced you to do the work for her? Impressive.
So, what does our scaled friend want in exchange for this relic? No, no, no, give me a moment. I'm keen to guess. She wants her freedom, right?"
Yes. She needs you to endorse her bid for freedom and sponsor her as a Hireling of House Telvanni.
"Oh, good. I was afraid she'd do something boring with her freedom, like run off into the marsh to worship trees or some such. Sun-in-Shadow shall have my endorsement.
I'll give you a writ. Deliver it to my Mouth, Eraven. He'll know what to do."

Therana will take a moment to write the writ, after which she will turn to you and say:

Magister Therana : "There. That should be sufficient. Now, take that writ and be off. I have a relic to study."

If you speak to her before taking the writ, she'll berate you:

"Well? Pick it up! Did you expect me to magically waft it over to you?"

You can speak to her again before leaving... if you dare:

"Honestly, what does a mer have to do to get some peace around here? What do you want now?"
I have some questions.
"Oh, by all means, ask away. I live in a foreboding and nearly inaccessible tower because I adore conversation."
Why couldn't you have simply gone into Zaintiraris yourself?
"I'm a Magister, not some thick-heeled errand girl.
Besides, Zaintiraris lies in Redoran territory. Provoking another Great House disrupts the natural order of things. I can't abide disruptions. Better to let expendable peasants do it for me."
What will you do with that relic?
"Oh, I'm so glad you asked! I love sharing the private details of my research with total strangers.
That was sarcasm, in case you missed it. My experiments are sensitive, complex, and none of your business."
Sun-in-Shadow said you were new to your rank.
"I've only recently become a magister, it's true. But don't think me some suckling babe.
I should have been promoted ages ago, but that antediluvian hag, Dratha, kept finding reasons to delay it. With any luck, she'll die soon."
Why live in a tower way out in the wilderness?
"Peace. Quiet. Some small measure of privacy. Alas, thick-headed adventurers insist on dropping by for long, boring chats."

From Magister to Mouth[edit]

The Mouth

Return to Tel Naga, and turn in the Writ of Sponsorship to Mouth Eraven Onthim, who you previously robbed:

"Do you need something? I'm rather busy at the moment."
I have a writ from Magister Therana.
"Oh? Let me see that. Submit to council … Argonian slave freed … services to House Telvanni ….
Well, well. I've always known Sun-in-Shadow to be ambitious, but this is quite the master stroke. I shall take this to the council and send for her."
"Feel free to wait in the council chamber. We will rule on this matter soon.
One other thing. Some of my personal correspondence went missing recently. If that ever happens again, the Morag Tong will hear of it. I trust we understand each other."
I think we do. Farewell.

As he leaves, he'll say: "I'll give this to the council." as he takes the writ to them.

The Council[edit]

Eraven Onthim
Llayne Sadri
Angharal Suth
Vaelin Oren
Ralasa Delvi

With the council assembled, the deliberation on Sun-in-Shadow's fate can begin. Speaking to Sun-in-Shadow will have her say:

"I've imagined this moment since I was a hatchling. I knew I'd be free eventually, but now that the moment's here … I just hope I don't embarrass myself."
What will the council do?
"They'll deliberate, needle each other a bit, then set me free. I only hope that they take me on as a hireling as well. I'll even get my own quarters. Can you imagine that? Not only my own room, a whole house to myself.
My heart is racing!"
If you're a hireling, will you be able to leave? I thought you were headed to Black Marsh.
"Yes, of course. I mean, eventually. We can talk about that later. Just let me bask in this moment, all right?"
As you wish.
"Truly, I couldn't have done this without you and Eoki. A plan is only as useful as the people who carry it out. You have my deepest thanks, sera.
Now … I suppose it's time!"
The Decision

After finishing speaking to you, the quest will officially end, but there is still more to Sun-in-Shadow's journey. She will present herself to council, where they will decide her fate.

Ralasa Delvi : "Well, well … what brings a slave to our audience chamber?"
Eraven Onthim : "I bring tidings from my august patron, Magister Therana. She would have your masters know that this slave, Sun-in-Shadow, has earned her favor."
Ralasa Delvi : "What? Magister Therana would lend her good name to this … thing? Preposterous!"
Angharal Suth : "Ralasa, don't be as tiresome as your master."
Vaelin Oren : "Can we move this along, please?"
Eraven Onthim : "Very well. Magister Therana, by right of rank, demands that the slave girl, Sun-in-Shadow, be freed from her bonds and raised up to a Hireling of the Great House Telvanni. She belongs to to Magister Otheri, does she not?"
Angharal Suth : "Indeed. My most beneficent patron, Magister Otheri, acquiesces to Magister Therana's demands. He is confident that Therana will remember this kindness in the future. Sun-in-Shadow, you are hereby freed and lifted up to the rank of hireling."
Ralasa Delvi : "My most majestic patron, Magister Gothren, warns you all. Lift up one of these beasts and a thousand more will follow. This is folly!"
Llayne Sadri : "If there's nothing else? I have urgent business in Tel Mora."

Eraven will then leave the chamber and as he passes by Sun-in-Shadow he'll say:

Eraven Onthim : "You've done well, girl. Do come by in a day or so. I may have some work for you."

Now you can accept Rising to Retainer from Sun-in-Shadow.


  • Sun-In-Shadow won't exist in Tel Naga before starting the quest.
    • Brelan Neloran won't exist in Eraven Onthim's Chambers before starting the quest or reaching the related objective.
    • Ethrandora won't exist in the Wizard's Study before starting the quest or reaching the related objective.
  • After Brelan Neloren leaves the room to go burn the poem and leave you to take the letter, you can find the burnt poem, now shown as "Scorched Paper", burning in one of the braziers in the main hall.
  • The dead Sheogorath cultist and his Scribbled Note won't exist at Zaintiraris before starting the quest or reaching the related objective.
  • The target-like pressure plate on the floor in front of the chest is fake. Stepping on it doesn't trigger any of the traps setup around the chest.
  • Magister Therana won't exist in Tel Branora before starting this quest or reaching the related objective.
  • The Magister's Writ lacks the typical golden glow of readable notes.

Quest Stages[edit]

A Hireling of House Telvanni
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
I should go talk to Eoki's love, Sun-in-Shadow. I'll likely find her working in Tel Naga.
Objective: Talk to Sun-in-Shadow
Sun-in-Shadow believes that Magister Therana's Mouth, Eraven Onthim, possesses a letter that could reveal what Therana is looking for in Zaintiraris. I should search his chambers in the Council House for the letter.
Objective: Find Eraven Onthim's Chambers
The Tel Branora Mouth is not in his chambers, but one of his assistants is. I should speak to Brelan Neloren.
Objective: Talk to Brelan
Brelan, Eraven's secretary, agreed to give me the information Sun-in-Shadow needs if I do him a favor first. I need to retrieve a bad poem he gave to another mage, so he can avoid embarrassment.
Objective: Pickpocket the Bad Poem
I have the poem, now I just need Magister Therana's note about Zaintiraris. I should return to Brelan.
Objective: Return the Poem to Brelan
I worked out a deal with Brelan, and having held up my end, he has obligingly unlocked the correspondence box and is turning a blind eye to my taking the needed information.
Objective: Take Magister Therana's Correspondence
I found out what Magister Therana seeks in the Daedric shrine, Zaintiraris. I should return to Sun-in-Shadow to plan our next move.
Objective: Talk to Sun-in-Shadow
I need to make my way to the Daedric shrine, Zaintiraris.
Objective: Travel to Zaintiraris
A complex puzzle-ward blocks the entrance to Zaintiraris. I should search the grounds to find some way to unlock the door.
Objective: Enter Zaintiraris
Objective Hint: Find a Way to Unlock Zaintiraris
I gained access to Zaintiraris shrine. I need to find a way into the shrine's central chamber. The relic is most likely there.
Objective: Find a Way to Access the Central Chamber
I found a key that will unlock the central chamber in Zaintiraris shrine. The finger bone of Saint Felms should be found in that area.
Objective: Find the Finger Bone of Saint Felms
I retrieved Saint Felms's finger bone from Zaintiraris. I should take it to Magister Therana at Tel Branora.
Objective: Take the Relic to Tel Branora
I need to convince Magister Therana to support Sun-in-Shadow's appeal for emancipation.
Objective: Talk to Therana about Sun-in-Shadow
Magister Therana has agreed to provide a Writ of Sponsorship for Sun-in-Shadow.
Objective: Take the Writ of Sponsorship
Magister Therana provided a document that supports Sun-in-Shadow's bid for emancipation, and encourages the Council to bestow upon her the rank of House Hireling. I must take it to Therana's Mouth, Eraven Onthim.
Objective: Deliver the Writ to Eraven Onthim
Eraven will have Sun-in-Shadow called before the council. I can go up to the Council Hall to witness her change in status.
Objective: Meet Sun-in-Shadow in the Council Chamber
A council emissary called Sun-in-Shadow to the council audience chamber. I should speak to her before she faces the Telvanni Council.
Objective: Talk To Sun-in-Shadow in the Audience Chamber
Finishes quest☑ The Telvanni Council is preparing to free Sun-in-Shadow. I should speak to her before the council makes their pronouncement.
Objective: Talk to Sun-in-Shadow in the Council Hall
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.