Online:The Oldest Orc
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- Speak to Gurlak in Salas En.
- Activate the birthsign plates in the correct order.
- Speak to Gurlak again to finish the quest.
Gurlak is imprisoned in a magical prison facing the switch that unlocks the Salas En portal room (needed for Thwarting the Aldmeri Dominion). He is surrounded by glowing floor tiles portraying twelve of the birthsigns (The Serpent is not present).
When you speak to him, he will state that many amateurs have attempted to free him, but that none have succeeded. It becomes clear that he sees you as just another amateur. If you press him for more information about his prison, he will mention that he was told something about an order set by time.
You can also ask him about why he was imprisoned, or about the skeletons roaming the ruin, and he will reluctantly tell you his tale of woe. He was a slave to an Ayleid named Nuralanya, and was imprisoned centuries ago due to an illicit relationship with his master. His wardens magically prolonged his life so that he would live to watch his lover die. Eventually the Redguards invaded and killed or drove off the Ayleids; this battle left bodies of soldiers that became the undead inhabitants of Salas En. However, Gurlak's prison protected him during the battle, after which there was no one left who knew how to release him. He has been trapped ever since.
To free Gurlak, you must depress each of the floor tiles by interacting with them (standing on a tile does nothing). If you push them in the wrong order, a wraith will appear and attack you. Each wraith will say one of the following as it appears:
- You know nothing of the passing of time!
- The stars bind this one! Their order is his prison!
- From The Ritual to The Thief, they watch him. There is no escape!
These are clues that point to the puzzle's solution: press the tiles in the order that their birthsigns occur in the year, from the first month (First Seed, with birth sign The Ritual) to the last (Evening Star, with birth sign The Thief). There are 12 panels on the walls that will tell you this order, proceeding clockwise from the entrance to the room:
- The Ritual (Morning Star)
- The Lover (Sun's Dawn)
- The Lord (First Seed)
- The Mage (Rain's Hand)
- The Shadow (Second Seed)
- The Steed (Mid Year)
- The Apprentice (Sun's Height)
- The Warrior (Last Seed)
- The Lady (Hearthfire)
- The Tower (Frostfall)
- The Atronach (Sun's Dusk)
- The Thief (Evening Star)
As you press each tile, it will stop glowing, and Gurlak will be more and more surprised by your success. Once you press The Thief, Gurlak will be released, and you can complete the quest.
However, Gurlak will stay where he was, saying that after so much time, his prison is all he knows. At this point, a portal opens across from Gurlak, and the spirit of his Ayleid lover, Nuralanya, will appear to take him "beyond this mortal realm". The two of them leave through the portal, presumably entering Aetherius.
- You can encounter a similar, but much shorter, puzzle during Puzzle of the Pass, where you must learn Ayleid names for the four seasons in order to pass the ancient Stone Guardian.
|The Oldest Orc|
|Finishes Quest||Journal Entry|
Objective: Set Gurlak Free