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Online:The Maelmoth Mysterium

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Help the "famed historian" Narsis Dren liberate himself from a magical ward.
Zone: Western Skyrim
Quest Giver: Peculiar Bottle, either in The Lonely Troll inn or outside Proudspire Manor in Solitude.
Location(s): The Lonely Troll, Solitude
Reward: Aggrieved Greaves
Average Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Standard XP
ID: 6510
Narsis found his prize, or did he?
A prideful historian named Narsis Dren found himself trapped in an illusion while researching an ancient mage. Assisting him in his investigation may lead to some exciting discoveries.


Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Speak to the Peculiar Bottle.
  2. Speak to Borfree Dull-Blade.
  3. Read Narsis' Journal.
  4. Find the three verses scattered around Solitude.
  5. Return to Narsis and dispel the illusion with the verses.
  6. Retrieve Maelmoth's Journal from Mages Guild.
  7. Go to the Meditation Grotto near Kilkreath Temple and solve the puzzle.
  8. Go to Kyne's Shrine and solve the puzzle there.
  9. Go to Sabre Cat's Leap and solve the final puzzle.
  10. Enter Folgunthur Barrow.
  11. Enter Maelmoth's Mysterium and read Maelmoth's Marvelous Masterpiece.
  12. Warn Narsis against touching the bottle, or not.
  13. Take the cursed Narsis back to Deem-Vilax at the Mages Guild.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

The Peculiar Bottle[edit]

Narsis Dren as the Peculiar Bottle

Inside The Lonely Troll inn in Solitude, in the eastern corner guest room, you'll notice a Peculiar Bottle sitting on one of the tables. Speak to the bottle, and the bottle talks back.

At first the voice takes you for someone else. Inform them of your identity, and the bottle will explain that they are not trapped inside the bottle, but rather suffer from a "very stubborn illusion."

The voice goes on to explain how they managed to trigger the spell, but noted in a journal how to dispel the illusion. Of course you offer to find said journal and assist the unfortunate soul.

It's then that the bottle identifies themselves as none other than "Narsis Dren—famed historian, etcetera." Even if you're very familiar with the Dunmer, he'll still tell you about his incomparable skill as an adventurer.

The Three Verses[edit]

Narsis berating his servant

Narsis will send you to speak to his servant, Borfree Dull-Blade who will give you Narsis' journal. After reading the journal, you'll find the location of the three verses that are needed to dispel the illusion of the bottle scattered around the city of Solitude. One is behind The Lonely Troll. Another on the plaza of the Bards College. The last one is outside the Mages Guild hall. This one will trigger a flash of magicka eliciting a response from the nearby gardener: "Bah! Bloody mages and their bloody tricks."

Return to The Lonely Troll and Borfree will have brought the bottle to his makeshift camp. Read the verses in the correct order and in a flash, the bottle will transform into Narsis Dren himself. Once he determines he's all in one piece he'll inform you that the two of you need the journal of the mage that created the illusion, Maelmoth the Mysterious, in order to find the great master's vault of treasures, Maelmoth's Mysterium.

The Librarian[edit]

Unfortunately, Narsis tried to acquire the journal earlier from the Mages Guild, but could not cajole the librarian, Deem-Vilax, to borrow the tome, especially after he tore one of the pages. It now falls to you to convince the Argonian to lend you the precious volume.

Go to the guild hall and you'll find Deem-Vilax making notes among the stacks. You can lie, persuade, or bribe the annoyed tome-keeper to let you have Maelmoth's Final Journal.

Take the book back to Narsis and he'll deduce that the journal contains a clue on how to find Maelmoth's treasure. He claims the clue points to a meditation grotto near Kilkreath Temple.

The Meditation Grotto[edit]

Follow the leader

Meet Narsis at the grotto and he'll point out a switch. After activating it, a projection of Maelmoth appears and carries out the sequence needed to solve the puzzle. Narsis' pride gets the better of him and tries to solve the puzzle... and fails. He tries to save face by explaining that he was merely showing how not to do it and that "puzzles can really, really hurt. Yet another lesson, free of charge."

Use the switch to reset the puzzle. Correctly solve the sequence of the tiles and a scroll appears on a nearby pedestal. Discuss the scroll's contents with Narsis and he'll note that: "I don't know about the flowers, but this bit about Lady of the Winter Winds likely points to Kyne." Narsis will tell you of a shrine to the Nords' storm goddess near Chillwind Depths.

A Scroll

To solve the puzzle, step on the tiles in the following order:

4 2
3 1 5

The Blossoms of Maelmoth[edit]

Another Scroll
"A path of flower petals? Path to a headache, I'd say. Damn this puzzle!" Narsis will have beat you to the next site and is already exasperated by the time you arrive. Solve the puzzle and … another scroll appears.

To solve the puzzle, light the sconces with the following number of flowers in order: two, four, three and one.

Consult with your partner again and he'll point you this time to :"Sabre Cat's Leap—a rocky precipice southwest of Morthal."

The Mysterium's Threshold[edit]

"Consequences of hasty choices"

Arrive at the site and there will be four illusory doors. The ever-impulsive Narsis Dren will once again teach you the "consequences of hasty choices" (i.e. gets it wrong again). If you press him for a clue, he'll graciously comply: "A clue? Very well …. Uhm. Read the riddle." He'll be nonplussed if you point out that that was not a clue he'll just use some circular logic and plays the "I did mention that I'm a best-selling writer, didn't I?" card.

Pick the leftmost door and the two of you will be transported to Folgunthur Barrow.

The Penultimate Laugh[edit]

The Key

Read the final scroll waiting outside the ruin and discover that by just reading the scroll you have unlocked the barrow. Narsis will be at the end of his patience: "I have never faced a more frustrating foe than this idiot, Maelmoth." Point out to him that the adventure is near its end and he'll rush through the door.

Inside you'll be blocked by a locked door into Maelmoth's Chamber of Treasures, however Narsis will notice a key on a pedestal on the other side of the hall. The key will however be guarded by the spirit of Maelmoth and you'll need to defeat him in order to take the key. Return to the door with the key and you and Narsis can enter.

Inside the vault, Narsis will at first be elated, until he notices that the contents of the room are actually worthless trinkets."Damn that addle-brained wizard! It's just another trick. It has to be!"

The Bottle Illusion

Narsis will notice a book on a table and asks you to investigate. He'll also notice an X on the floor: "A gate of some kind? Hmm."

Read the book and you'll find out that Maelmoth was indeed mad and most of the "treasures" have no real value to anyone other than Maelmoth. However, Maelmoth places great pride on the very complex illusion spell he created; the Bottle illusion. The book explicitly states that the bottle is little more than a trap and will trap whoever touches it inside.

You can warn Narsis that the bottle is a trap, or lie and let him be a victim of his own hubris.

Oh, Narsis. You really tie the room together[edit]

No matter what choice you made, you will need to return that journal to the librarian. Once back at the Mages Guild in Solitude, Deem-Vilax will greet you with her typical disdain. However, if you lied to Narsis and let him touch the bottle, she'll be quite amused at his predicament. She'll gladly take Maelmoth's journal back and even though she says she'll release Narsis from the bottle — eventually, she tells you this is a fine "teachable moment" and sets the bottle on a nearby cupboard.

"Perhaps I should find a bundle of flowers. You know … to make Narsis useful, for once."

As you leave the hall, you can hear her say:

Deem-Vilax: "There we are. Oh, Narsis. You really tie the room together. Ha!"

However, if you warned Narsis about the bottle, you will return bottle-less. Deem-Vilax will be relieved that you returned with the journal and without Narsis, and will give you a reward and the quest will complete.

Afterwards, Deem-Vilax will say:

Deem-Vilax: "I simply cannot wait to throw Narsis Dren's next opus in the waste bin. He's a terrible writer. I won't allow his books on my shelves!"

Quest Stages[edit]

The Maelmoth Mysterium
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
A prideful historian named Narsis Dren found himself trapped in an illusion while researching an ancient mage. Assisting him in his investigation may lead to some exciting discoveries.
Objective: I should go talk to the bottle's manservant.
Narsis Dren asked me to find his journal. Apparently, it contains the location of a powerful incantation capable of reversing the illusion spell.
Objective: Read the Journal
According to Narsis's journal, the legendary illusionist, Maelmoth, separated his incantation of reversal into three parts and hid them throughout Solitude. I must use the bottle's notes to locate all three parts of this powerful incantation.
Objective: Gather Maelmoth's Incantation: 0 / 3
I gathered all three parts of Maelmoth's incantation. I should return to Narsis Dren and dispel the illusion.
Objective: Dispel the Illusion
I successfully cast Maelmoth's spell and freed the boastful historian, Narsis Dren, from the illusion spell. I should talk to him about what he plans to do now.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
Narsis Dren urged me to acquire Maelmoth's last journal from the Mages Guild librarian in Solitude. Apparently this text contains a riddle that could lead us to the ancient mage's greatest treasure.
Objective: Find Maelmoth's Journal
The Mages Guild librarian let me borrow Maelmoth's final journal. I should deliver it to Narsis to see if he can make sense of it.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
According to Narsis, Maelmoth's journal entry points to a meditation grotto near Kilkreath Temple. I should make my way to this hidden grotto. Narsis will meet me there.
Objective: Meet Narsis at the Meditation Grotto
There is a switch that Narsis wants me to pull. He thinks it will reveal one of Maelmoth's secrets.
Objective: Use the Switch
We found an ancient puzzle in Maelmoth's grotto. Narsis thinks that if we solve the puzzle, it may lead to Maelmoth's treasure.
Objective: Solve Maelmoth's Puzzle
Objective Hint: Use the Switch to Reset the Tiles
Shortly after solving Maelmoth's puzzle, a scroll appeared. I should read it to see if it contains any additional clues.
Objective: Read Maelmoth's Scroll
I read Maelmoth's scroll. I should discuss its contents with Narsis Dren.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
Narsis believes that Maelmoth's scroll indicates we'll find our next test at Kyne's Shrine. Narsis will meet me there.
Objective: Meet Narsis at Kyne's Shrine
Narsis beat me to the shrine, but seems to be struggling with Maelmoth's next puzzle. I should talk to him.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
I must solve this sconce puzzle to discover the next step in Maelmoth's elaborate test. The scroll we discovered in the grotto should provide all the clues I need.
Objective: Solve Maelmoth's Puzzle at Kyne's Shrine
As soon as I solved the sconce puzzle, another scroll appeared. I should read it.
Objective: Read Maelmoth's Second Scroll
This new scroll contains another obscure clue. I should talk to Narsis. He might be able to make sense of it.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
Narsis believes the scroll points to a rocky precipice southwest of Morthal called Sabre Cat's Leap. I should make my way there. Narsis will join me soon.
Objective: Meet Narsis at Sabre Cat's Leap
I found Narsis examining an array of mysterious doors—undoubtedly another of Maelmoth's puzzles. I should talk to Narsis about how to tackle this next challenge.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
Narsis helpfully illustrated the consequences of getting this puzzle wrong. I must choose the correct door to proceed. The scroll I recovered at the braziers likely contains the clues I need.
Objective: Solve Maelmoth's Door Puzzle
Walking through the correct door magically teleported me to another location—and another scroll. I should read Maelmoth's next clue.
Objective: Read Maelmoth's Third Scroll
Reading the final scroll seems to have opened the ruin, Folgunthur. I should deliver the good news to Narsis.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
I should enter Folgunthur and discover what secrets await inside.
Objective: Enter Folgunthur
Narsis and I entered Folgunthur, only to encounter another locked door! I must find a key that will grant us entry to Maelmoth's Mysterium.
Objective: Find the Key to Maelmoth's Mysterium
I found the key to Maelmoth's Mysterium. Now we can finally discover the ancient mage's secrets.
Objective: Enter Maelmoth's Mysterium
We discovered Maelmoth's "deepest mysteries"—a pile of dusty, unremarkable junk. Narsis Dren pointed out a nearby tome. I should read it. Perhaps it can shed some light on Maelmoth's bizarre collection.
Objective: Read Maelmoth's Collection Notes
According to Maelmoth's tome, the nearby bottle is the product of his life's work—an illusion capable of instantly transforming people who touch it. I should talk to Narsis.
Objective: Talk to Narsis Dren
(If you chose to lie)

Predictably, the bottle unleashed a spell on Narsis, turning him back into a bottle. I should pick him up and decide what to do with him.

Objective: Take the Bottled Narsis
☑Finishes quest I should deliver the bottled Narsis Dren to Deem-Vilax in Solitude, along with Maelmoth's journal. Perhaps she'll know what to do with him.
Objective: Talk to Deem-Vilax
☑Finishes quest (If you chose to tell the truth.)

Maelmoth's trail ended in disappointment for Narsis Dren. Despite the lack of mysteries and treasures, Narsis is confident that he can weave it all into a profitable tale. I should return the journal to Deem-Vilax in Solitude like I promised.

Objective: Talk to Deem-Vilax
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