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 Quick Walkthrough
- Escort Esbern to Riverwood.
- Talk to Esbern.
- Gain entrance to Sky Haven Temple.
- Learn the secret of Alduin's Wall.
 Detailed Walkthrough
 Blades Reunited
From The Ratway in Riften, it is necessary to travel with Esbern back to Riverwood so he can meet with Delphine. Make your way out of the Ratway by the way you came, avoiding or defeating the Thalmor agents and various underworld criminals you may encounter along the way. Once outside, travel to back to Riverwood and into the Sleeping Giant Inn.
Upon arriving at the inn, you will be greeted by Delphine, surprised to see Esbern alive. After a brief reunion between the two former Blades, Delphine will wish to speak to the two of you in private. Delphine will lead you to the secret cellar, where Esbern announces that his intention is to find an ancient Blades prophecy. He will go on to say the group must leave for Sky Haven Temple, a Blades headquarters built up around an ancient Akaviri military camp in the Reach. Of particular importance within that location is a structure from the First Era known as Alduin's Wall, which may tell how to defeat Alduin.
Delphine soon realizes that Esbern's description of the temple's location matches her knowledge of the Karthspire, and the Blades agree to set out for that location. Delphine tells Orgnar that the Inn is now his and bids him farewell. At this point, you can choose to either travel with the Blades or alone, heading towards the marker Delphine placed on your map. If you're traveling alone, it may be easier to take a carriage to Markarth and then head east, as Delphine recommends, though you can also take the longer route through Falkreath hold, which is generally easier if you have the Blades with you.
 The Karthspire
Whether you went as a group or solo, when you arrive at the Karthspire Camp you will find yourself up against a horde of Forsworn, as well as a dragon. Both Delphine and Esbern will arrive and assist you. Though you can stand and fight, if the battle begins to overwhelm you it is simple to retreat into the Karthspire caverns themselves.
You will now need to journey through the interior of the Karthspire, defeating the three Forsworn, including a Forsworn Briarheart, and making your way to the beginning of the Akaviri ruins.
 Sky Haven Temple
Heading up the stone steps on the right, you will be confronted with a trio of three-sided pillars, each side inscribed with a symbol. According to Esbern, they are of Akaviri origin, but the one that matters most to you is the symbol meaning 'Dragonborn', which resembles two dragon heads facing each other and an arrow pointing down so the symbol is with arrow pointing down is what you turn to face you on all three pillars. Once all three pillars are showing this symbol, the bridge to your left will drop, allowing you and the Blades to continue.
In the next chamber you come to, you will be confronted with a floor of pressure plates, inscribed with the same three symbols as the pillars. Once again, the Dragonborn symbol is the key, and as long as you move across only on these tiles, you can reach the other side. Stepping off of the route will cause a fireball to be launched at you, so moving slowly is advisable. If you prefer, you can use the Whirlwind Sprint shout to move across without triggering the trap.
Once safely across, pull the chain to allow the Blades across, and exit the chamber. You will need to travel across a pair of bridges, and then into the entrance chamber of Sky Haven Temple. Esbern heads for a large stone head built into the far wall, which is according to Esbern the visage of Reman Cyrodiil. In fact, the entire temple is some sort of shrine to him. In front of it is a large carved circle, which Esbern declares to be a "blood seal", requiring the blood of a Dragonborn to function. Activate the circle and you cut your hand, dripping blood on the circle. The stone head then retracts, and an opening is revealed.
Delphine and Esbern take a few moments in the following tunnel to inspect the Akaviri carvings and light the braziers, but you may wish to run ahead and view the temple proper. After arriving behind you, Esbern is immediately attracted to a large relief on the far wall, Alduin's Wall. He moves over to inspect it, taking several moments to fully identify it. The wall depicts the history of Alduin and the Dragon Cult, and details a prophecy regarding their defeat. Ultimately, he proclaims that the ancient Nords actually used a shout to defeat Alduin, and Delphine turns to you, asking if you know of such a shout. At this point, your best source of information is likely the Greybeards, however much Delphine may dislike them. Esbern will go on to explain that the last panel speaks of Alduin's return and his contending with the last Dragonborn at the end of time.
Bid farewell to the two Blades, both of them enraptured by Sky Haven Temple, and leave the building. Your next destination is High Hrothgar, home of the Greybeards.
One achievement is unlocked when you complete this quest:
- If you choose to travel with Delphine and Esbern, they may stop following you for no apparent reason. However, simply continue to Sky Haven Temple without them and they'll meet up with you eventually. If you leave them behind somewhere to complete other quests, you will again encounter them after crossing the pressure plate puzzle. You may also tell Delphine to stop following you and next to follow you again; this will make both of them follow you again.
- One trigger for Esbern and Delphine to abandon you is that your party enters into combat along the road. This is particularly likely at the Forsworn camp near the entrance to the Karthspire.
- If you meet Esbern and Delphine at Karthspire and choose not to complete the mission just yet, they can follow you as companions. They are high level and immortal companions; you may still have a normal follower along with them. However, Esbern and Delphine will constantly tell you to take them to the quest destination.
- The Sneak perk "Light Foot" does not affect the pressure plates in Sky Haven Temple.
- The temple contains a full set of Blade's Armor (Heavy), six blades swords (semi-unique one-handed swords), and the leveled sword Dragonbane. They are found in a room almost straight opposite Alduin's Wall across the main chamber. Take note that Dragonbane is leveled when you first enter Sky Haven Temple; thus the quest should be left until you are level 46 in order to acquire the best version of the weapon.
- A tripwire in The Ratway Vaults may reset and block your way out.
- Use Unrelenting Force through Esbern to activate the trap.
- Esbern may get stuck in the book animation at the beginning of the quest.
setstage MQ203 50can be used as a partial solution for this and will advance the quest to stage 60 (“Gain entrance to Sky Haven Temple”).
- If Esbern has been glitched in the previous quest, he will not speak throughout this quest. The dialogue will not always register with subtitles.
- Use the command
resetAIor hit him with a weapon in order to advance the quest. However, neither dialogue nor subtitles will occur.
- Use the command
- If you have already explored the temple entrance and solved the first puzzle to lower the bridge, Delphine and Esbern may not follow you into the Blood Seal room at all preventing the dialog to activate the Blood Seal. They will remain at the previously completed first puzzle.
- If you have already explored the temple entrance and lowered the bridge when this quest is started, the quest might get stuck. After activating the Blood Seal, instead of following you into the Temple, Delphine and Esbern will run back to the first puzzle and wait for you to complete it; however, it has already been completed, thus making the NPCs wait indefinitely.
- Open the command console and type
setstage MQ203 140. This will get the NPCs to move across the bridge. It is also possible to use the
moveto playerfunction to move both of them to your location once you're at the top.
- If the above still doesn't work, open the console and type
setstage MQ203 280. This finishes the quest for you and starts the next one.
- The position of Delphine and Esbern when the player enters Sky Haven Temple appears to matter when this bug is encountered. Basically, both Delphine and Esbern must be past the area previously closed off by the face when the player advances into Sky Haven Temple. To achieve this, load a saved file (or auto-save) before activation of the Blood Seal. Once the player activates the Blood Seal, while Esbern talks and the player is able to move after activating the Blood Seal, immediately "equip" the three-word version of Unrelenting Force and move directly next to either Delphine or Esbern looking at the now opened entrance. Both Delphine and Esbern can be "shouted" into the entrance area, will not attack when shouted, and will follow the player into Sky Haven Temple advancing the quest.
- If the "shout method" above doesn't work, use this workaround: Just before the three of you leave the Inn at Riverwood, choose the option to travel together. Go outside, and then fast travel directly to Sky Haven Temple. You will land outside the skull entrance along with the two of them. Let them go through the motions, and then slice your hand when the time comes. Once the door opens, let them go through their dialogue sequence. Walk first up the stairs--and they will follow you.
- Open the command console and type
- It's possible for Esbern to get stuck in "combat" mode in the cave. If this happens no dialogue can occur and the quest cannot move forward. Leave the cave (fast travel to the area might be needed) then reenter. He should be waiting with Delphine near the puzzle in the correct mode.
- Delphine may not move after telling you she has somewhere you can talk. Speaking to her and leaving the conversation should fix this.
- It is possible for Delphine to get stuck at the entrance door. When stuck, move her to your location at the top of Sky Haven Temple by typing the console commands
prid 00013485and then
moveto player. If Esbern is stuck, he can be moved by
prid 19dfdand then
moveto player. Then you will be able to enter Sky Haven Temple with both Esbern and Delphine.
- While in Karthspire, your follower might disappear from the game forever and will not reappear after fast traveling or visiting that follower's residence. There are so far no fixes for the issue.
- If the player has already visited the temple and uses fast travel, Delphine may arrive at the temple without Esbern. The player may not be able to open the temple door without him.
 Quest Stages
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 1, 5, 6, 20, 25, 30, 40, 48, 65, 70, 75, 80, 100, 110, 120, 140, 150, 180, 185, 210, 230, 250, 260, 290, 300
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