- Talk to Neloth in Tel Mithryn.
- (Optional) Talk to Elynea Mothren or Ulves Romoran.
- Find Varona Nelas.
- Find a new steward in Raven Rock.
- Return to Neloth for your reward.
The Missing Steward
In Tel Mithryn, the eccentric founder of the settlement, master-wizard Neloth, works his few employees hard and expects them to carry out even the most unfair duties. His current steward is named Varona Nelas and is constantly challenged by the demanding wizard who has a weak spot for tea brewed from canis root. Once you have spoken with Varona and left Tel Mithryn at least once, she will be nowhere to be found. Pay a visit to Neloth in his tower and he will wander around saying: "Where is that ash sucking steward of mine? Varona!" As it turns out the wizard is quite hungry and will task you with finding Varona: "Well find her. Tell her I want apple cabbage stew, with some canis root tea." He will not take ‘no’ for an answer, regardless of which option you choose:
Why don't you just make your own tea?
"What? Make my own tea? I am a master wizard of the House Telvanni. Other people make tea for me."
Hey, I'm not your servant.
"Obviously not, or you would have a cup of tea in your hands. I supposed you want to be asked nicely. Very well. Please, oh hero of Skyrim. Please find Varona. I shall be ever so grateful."
Of course, Master Neloth. As you command.
"Finally. Someone who recognizes my importance around here."
Neloth will then return to his daily routine and you will have no choice but to search for the missing steward. No map marker will be provided, so look around for the other hard-proved inhabitants of the settlement.
Ash Spawn Attack
Outside, Neloth’s apprentice Talvas Fathryon will refuse to talk about Varona until you complete his quest From the Ashes. Even so, he will point you towards local apothecary Elynea Mothren for information. Alternatively, you can talk to Ulves Romoran inside Tel Mithryn Kitchen. Both he and Elynea will tell you that Varona just departed for Raven Rock in order to gather supplies. Bringing this information to Neloth will net you nothing, as he only cares if his tea is hot or not. After speaking to Elynea or Ulves, a map marker will now point you towards Varona who will most likely (see bugs) be in the area west of the Sun Stone, not far from a dead reaver. Unfortunately, she never made it to Raven Rock as she was killed by three ash spawn, all of them still gathered around her dead body. Kill the ash spawn and investigate her body for a quest update.
A Popular Wizard
Back in his tower, Neloth will have a hard time showing any emotion when you tell him the sad news: "Dead? Well that's annoying. How did she die?" When you tell him about the ash spawn attack, he will reflect a bit but will quickly get over it: "There are more and more of those things showing up around here lately. I suppose you'll have to find me a new steward. Try Raven Rock. They are in awe of me there. I'm sure almost anyone would be willing to serve me." Three options will be available and the two top options will always lead to the third:
You can't just order me around.
"Well, somebody needs to get me a new steward. It might as well be you. But if you don't want to help a master wizard of House Telvanni, possibly earning his favor, you're a fool."
What's in it for me?
"So gaining the favor of a Telvanni wizard isn't enough? I suppose I'll have to pay you. Heroes. They get greedier every century."
What kind of a person should I look for?
"Hmm. Excellent question. Once word gets out, there will be a lot of people to choose from. Someone with a brilliant mind and robust physique that is blindly obedient would be ideal. Oh, and they need to know how to brew tea. Ulves always waters it down."
Once again, you will have to obey orders, so travel to Raven Rock, where a huge amount of the citizens will have an extra dialogue option, namely to consider a position as Neloth’s new steward.
When you begin asking the inhabitants of Raven Rock if they want a new job as Neloth’s personal steward, it soon becomes quite clear that the wizard may have overestimated both his reputation and popularity, as shown in the table below:
|Geldis Sadri||"Are you nuts? Neloth is crazy! I hear he talks to mud crabs."|
|Fethis Alor||"Don't be ridiculous. Who would run this place? You should ask around at The Retching Netch. Someone there might be crazy enough, or drunk enough, to do it."|
|Adril Arano||"I'm perfectly content with my current position."|
|Cindiri Arano||"I could never leave Adril behind, and he will never leave Lleril. Besides, I'd never work for Neloth! I heard he cut the heart out of his former apprentice."|
|Glover Mallory||"Ha ha ha! Gods, that's rich. Work for Neloth. Ha ha ha!"|
|Dreyla Alor||"My father needs me. He can't run his market stand alone. Besides, Neloth is as loony as a skooma addict. He wanted my father to import a white mammoth. Alive!"|
|Crescius Caerellius||"Nah. I don't think so. Anyway, I don't think he'd take on anyone that isn't a dunmer."|
|Aphia Velothi||"Me? I hardly think so. That Telvanni wizard is unhinged. I heard he tries to drink the ash."|
|Mirri Severin||"Now why would I want to work for House Telvanni? Besides, Neloth is a madman!"|
|Mogrul||"Ha, ha, ha! Not on your life! I'd have to be truly desperate to do that."|
|Milore Ienth||"Not on your life! I'd sooner try to swim back to Windhelm."|
|Rirns Llervu||"I'd saw off my own leg for a septim, but you couldn't pay me enough to do that."|
|Bralsa Drel||"Would he give me skooma? I might do it for some skooma." (see bugs)|
|Garyn Ienth||"And leave my farm? No thank you."|
While Neloth seems to be the laughingstock in town, three citizens will prove helpful and point you towards Drovas Relvi who works as a cook at the Retching Netch. These citizens are Dreyla Alor, Geldis Sadri, and Glover Mallory (see notes).
The Unhappy Cook
Drovas is quite unhappy with working at the Retching Netch, as Geldis Sedri doesn't allow him to drink on the job. When presented with the idea of acting as Neloth's new steward he will therefore accept right away: "Uh... you mean leave Raven Rock? For good? To go work for a crazed Telvanni wizard? Sure. Just let me get my things. On second thought, nevermind. I can get new stuff." Drovas will then set off at a running pace and head towards Tel Mithryn where he will begin his life anew, now a steward for Neloth. When you tell Neloth, he will hatefully comment: "That Drovas man? I suppose he'll do. He makes dreadful canis root tea though. But, I should be grateful. Here, take this for your efforts."
He will then hand you the reward, a leveled amount of gold and a key that provides free access to his unique Staff Enchanter in the locked southern chamber. The chamber also holds his Black Book, Hidden Twilight. Lastly, you can now hear the eccentric wizard calling for his steward: "Where is that lazy steward of mine? Varona! No, wait. She's dead. Drovas!"
- If you start the quest by examining the dead body of Varona, Neloth will instead say: "What! Who's going to make my tea? Why do these things always happen to me? Well, don't just stand there. Go find me another steward. I'm sure there's plenty of people in Raven Rock to choose from." He will then send you to Raven Rock (start the walkthrough from this section).
- Glover Mallory will only help you find a new steward if you have completed Meet the Family.
- Drovas' eagerness to accept the position also seems driven by a desire to escape a debt owed to Mogrul, a debt that you are now expected to pay.
- Varona will sometimes not end up dead in her intended place, but instead somewhere around Tel Mithryn. The quest will progress normally upon examining her body.
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.3 of the Unofficial Dragonborn Patch.
- Varona can die without you being able to reach her, preventing you from completing the quest. For example, the quest marker will show her location, but she might have been set under an obstacle such as a rock. Another possibility is that her body simply never appears and you do not get a quest marker guiding you to her. The quest marker for her body has also appeared off the map of Solstheim, with just an arrow pointing the direction.
- To get her body from under the object, try using the Unrelenting Force shout. In some cases her body will be blown clear, and you can finish the quest.
- Another way to get her body from under an object is to activate the Ritual Stone found between Whiterun and Valtheim Towers. Then use that power on the rock where she is stuck. Once she is reanimated, you can kill her and finish the quest.
- Use the console by typing in
prid xx0177DD(where 'xx' is a number that depends on how many DLCs you have installed, determine it by opening the console and clicking on an object in Solstheim) and then
moveto playerto move her directly to you, or
moveto xx017E8Eto move her to where she was supposed to be.
- Sometimes Varona's body will show up without clothes.
- Bralsa Drel claims she'll take the job for some skooma, but even if you have some, you can't give it to her. There does seem to be an unused line of dialogue in the game data that suggests it may have been possible one point, however she refers to Neloth as a female: "Skooma! Lovely skooma. But I'd sooner give it up than go work for her [sic]. That dunmer is crazy!"
- This bug is fixed by version 2.0.3 of the Unofficial Dragonborn Patch.
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 90, 100.