|Location||Sleeping Giant Inn
Sky Haven Temple
|Primary Skills||Sneak, Archery, Block, One-handed|
|Faction(s)||Blades; CrimeFactionWhiterun; FavorExcludedFaction; JobRentRoomFaction; Riverwood Sleeping Giant Inn Faction; TownRiverwoodFaction; WIAdditem03ExclusionFaction|
Delphine, a Breton, is likely the first innkeeper that you will meet in the game. She initially lives in Riverwood at the Sleeping Giant Inn and can rent you a room for ten septims. At the inn, Delphine starts off her day at 6am with breakfast for an hour, following which she will spend most of her time sweeping floors, wiping tabletops, using the alchemy lab, and often nagging at her barkeeper Orgnar. At 6pm she has a one hour break for dinner, and resumes her work afterward. She goes to bed at midnight and sleeps for six hours, then wakes to repeat her schedule the following day.
Behind this facade, Delphine is one of the last remaining members of the Blades, an ancient organization serving as sworn protectors of the Septim Emperors, but replaced by the Penitus Oculatus in the early Fourth Era. The Blades were then forced to disband after the signing of a truce called the White-Gold Concordat ended the Great War.
Delphine maintains the guise of the Riverwood village innkeeper at the Sleeping Giant Inn in an effort to avoid the Thalmor who have been hunting down the remaining survivors of the Blades for thirty years. During this time, Delphine has been searching for a purpose as a Blade, and has recently been trying to unravel the mystery of the return of the dragons. For full details on Delphine's role in suppressing the dragon threat, see this section.
Delphine the innkeeper wears a set of farm clothes and a pair of boots. She is equipped with an elven dagger and an orcish bow, supplemented by 25 steel arrows. She also carries a torch, three potions of minor healing, three potions of plentiful healing, a key to her inn, as well as a selection of common loot and gold.
When out traveling, Delphine changes out of her farm clothes into a set of leather armor, including matching pairs of bracers and boots, and equips herself with a Blades sword. Also, if you meet Delphine in Dragonsreach at the end of the Bleak Falls Barrow quest, she wears a Thieves Guild hood in addition to her leather outfit. When in combat, she usually dual-wields her Blades sword and elven dagger to tear at her enemies, or uses her bow and arrows from afar. Delphine knows two spells from the Restoration school—Fast Healing and Steadfast Ward—but rarely uses them in combat.
As you proceed further in the main questline, Delphine will relinquish the ownership of the inn to Orgnar and relocate to Sky Haven Temple in the Reach. At the temple, her daily schedule is more rigorous and dynamic than before. She starts off her day at 6am with breakfast for an hour, and has the following hour free to herself. At 8am, she begins honing her archery skills at one of the target boards at the courtyard for two hours. Immediately after that, she will sharpen her skills with the blade using a training dummy. At noon, after four continuous hours of training, she finally takes a two-hour break. At 2pm, she will resume her training with another four-hour session. During her training, she sometimes alternates between training alone and training with a Blades recruit, if any are present.
At 6pm she has a one hour break for dinner, and has the rest of the evening free. During her free time around noon and after training sessions, she usually wanders around the temple or stands at the lookout in the courtyard. She goes to bed at midnight and sleeps for six hours, and repeats this schedule the following day.
As acting Grandmaster of the Blades, Delphine is fully clad in Blades equipment. This includes a cuirass, matching pairs of gauntlets and boots, as well as an extra Blades sword. While in combat, she now prefers dual-wielding two Blades swords instead of having her dagger in her off-hand. She still retains her entire inventory from her days as an innkeeper, including her farm clothes and various miscellaneous items.
- Bleak Falls Barrow: Retrieve the Dragonstone.
- The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller: Retrieve a Greybeard artifact from Ustengrav.
- A Blade in the Dark: Prove you are Dragonborn to Delphine by slaying the dragon Sahloknir.
- Diplomatic Immunity: Infiltrate a party at the Thalmor Embassy.
- A Cornered Rat: Locate Esbern.
- Alduin's Wall: Locate the prophecy within Sky Haven Temple.
- Season Unending: Enforce a ceasefire to secure Dragonsreach.
- Rebuilding the Blades: Recruit new members for the Blades.
- Paarthurnax: Deal with a potential threat.
Sleeping Giant Inn Dialogue
Upon visiting the Sleeping Giant Inn for the first time, you can witness Delphine chastising her barkeeper Orgnar about the ale going bad:
|Delphine:||"Orgnar. Orgnar! Are you listening?"|
|Orgnar:||"Hard not to."|
|Delphine:||"The ale is going bad. We need to get a new batch. Did you hear me?"|
|Orgnar:||"Yep. Ale's going bad."|
|Delphine:||"I guess you don't have potatoes in your ears after all. Just make sure we get a fresh batch in soon."|
On subsequent visits to the inn, she can be seen having random conversations with Orgnar, where she continues to nag at him about the inn's stocks, as outlined in the table below. On instances where Delphine has two or more options for lines to say, she will pick a line at random:
|Delphine||"The corn stores are getting low again, Orgnar."|
|"You promised me you'd sweep the entranceway."|
|"I still need you to make a batch of those fried potatoes. We can serve them with the ale."|
|"You are going to brew a new batch of ale, right? Like we talked about? What we have's been sitting in that barrel for over a month."|
|Delphine||"And... you'll take care of it?"|
|"Wait, let me guess. You'll get to it later."|
|Orgnar||"Don't I always?"|
|Delphine||"I don't suppose I could convince you to take care of it now, could I?"|
|Delphine||"Well. There's something to be said for honesty, I suppose."|
|"I should have guessed."|
Delphine may also complain to the local bard Sven about his choice of songs:
|Delphine:||"Sven, we need to talk..."|
|Sven:||"Here we go..."|
|Delphine:||"It's about your singing. Well, not your singing, your songs. But you know what I'm talking about."|
|Sven:||"You do realize these simpletons wouldn't know real music if it bit them in the britches, hmm? Very well. Your wish is my command."|
|Delphine:||"Wonderful. And let's not have this chat again next week. Agreed?"|
Delphine greets you with any of the following lines when passing by her or initiating a conversation with her:
- "You're that visitor, been pokin' around."
- "I'm the innkeeper. It's my business to keep track of strangers."
- "We don't get a lot of travelers here in Riverwood."
- "The war keeps most folks away, these days."
- "Most of my customers are locals, come to relax after a hard day's toil."
- "So what's your story? Just here to... relax?"
- "You look like you could use an ale."
- "If you're staying the night, I've got a free room."
- "Wanderer like you must have quite an appetite. Some food?"
Delphine says any of the following lines when asked for rumors:
- "Word is Ulfric Stormcloak escaped from the Imperials. War's only going to get worse, now."
- "They say a dragon attacked Helgen. Sounds like hogwash to me."
- "Lucan at the Riverwood Trader had his store broken into the other night. Oddly enough, barely anything's been stolen."
- "Nobody trusts those mages, way up north in their college. Gods only know what they do up there."
Bleak Falls Barrow
During this quest, you will meet Farengar Secret-Fire, the court wizard of Whiterun, who has been researching dragons. He tasks you to retrieve a stone tablet called the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow. When you return to Dragonsreach with the Dragonstone, you will observe a conversation regarding the book Holdings of Jarl Gjalund between Farengar and his "reliable source", who is none other than Delphine:
|Farengar:||"You see? The terminology is clearly First Era or even earlier. I'm convinced this is a copy of a much older text. Perhaps dating to just after the Dragon War. If so, I could use this to cross-reference the names with other later texts."|
|Delphine:||"Good. I'm glad you're making progress. My employers are anxious to have some tangible answers."|
|Farengar:||"Oh, have no fear. The Jarl himself has finally taken an interest, so I'm now able to devote most of my time to this research."|
|Delphine:||"Time is running, Farengar, don't forget. This isn't some theoretical question. Dragons have come back."|
|Farengar:||"Yes, yes. Don't worry. Although the chance to see a living dragon up close would be tremendously valuable... Now, let me show you something else I found... very intriguing... I think your employers may be interested as well..."|
|Delphine:||"You have a visitor."|
|Farengar:||"Hmm? Ah, yes, the Jarl's protege! Back from Bleak Falls Barrow? You didn't die, it seems."|
At this point, Farengar will approach you and take the Dragonstone from your inventory: "Ah! The Dragonstone of Bleak Falls Barrow! Seems you are a cut above the usual brutes the Jarl sends my way. My... associate here will be pleased to see your handiwork. She discovered its location, by means she has so far declined to share with me." He will then turn his attention back to Delphine:
|Farengar:||"So your information was correct after all. And we have our friend here to thank for recovering it for us."|
|Delphine:||(to you) "You went into Bleak Falls Barrow and got that? Nice work. (to Farengar) Just send me a copy when you've deciphered it."|
After this acknowledgment, Delphine will return to studying the copy of Holdings of Jarl Gjalund on the table. If you try to speak to her, it quickly becomes clear that she has nothing more to say to you for now.
If at any point you decide to go to the Sleeping Giant Inn while this quest is still active before returning to Farengar, the inn will be closed. As Orgnar explains: "Inn's closed. Bar's still open, though. Feel free to sit and put your head down on the table for as long as you like. I won't bother you." If you question him on the whereabouts of Delphine, he will reply with "Out. She owns the place, she does what she wants."
The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
Your search for the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller involves delving deep into a Nordic ruin called Ustengrav. As you make your way through the final chamber, you will find a pedestal holding a small statue where you would expect the horn to be resting, but you will instead find a mysterious note addressed to you—the Dragonborn.
When you rent the attic room at the Sleeping Giant Inn from Delphine, as the note instructs, she says: "Attic room, eh? Well... we don't have an attic room, but you can have the one on the left. Make yourself at home." If by any chance you have initially rented a regular room from her on the same day, and then ask for the attic room, she will instead say "Oh, you wanted the attic room? Why didn't you say so the first time? The thing is... we don't actually have an attic room. But I think I know what you mean. Go ahead and make yourself at home."
Delphine will follow you in to the room, saying "So you're the Dragonborn I've been hearing so much about. I think you're looking for this." She will hand you over the horn that you were looking for and say, "We need to talk. Follow me." Delphine ends the conversation and triggers the next quest, A Blade in the Dark, leaving you free to return the horn to the Greybeards at a time of your choosing to complete the current quest.
A Blade in the Dark
The quest commences when Delphine asks you to follow her into her room; if you try to engage her in a conversation, she will only reply with "Not here. Follow me." Once in her room, she will stand by her wardrobe and ask you to close the door. Delphine will then unlock her wardrobe and open the false back panel which leads into her secret basement, where it is safe to talk.
Once below, Delphine will make her way to the table in the center and lean over in front of a Map of Dragon Burials. She begins, "The Greybeards seem to think you're the Dragonborn. I hope they're right." She will express her distrust for the Greybeards if you tell her that they are right about you: "I hope so. But you'll forgive me if I don't assume that something's true just because the Greybeards say so. I just handed you the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Does that make me Dragonborn, too?" You can ask her if she was the one who took the horn, to which she will reply, "Surprised? I guess I'm getting pretty good at my harmless innkeeper act." If you insist that you're to meet someone here, she will say "I hope you're just playing dumb. I'm the one who left the note in Ustengrav." You can comment that she isn't the type of person you were expecting, to which she will reply, "Good. The whole point of being in hiding is to appear to be someone you're not." If you ask her about all the cloak-and-dagger, she explains, "You can't be too careful. Thalmor spies are everywhere."
Regardless of your initial dialogue choices with Delphine, you will be presented with a few dialogue options, all of which will yield similar responses, as outlined below:
- "Here I am. What do you want?" or "What do you want with me?"
- "I didn't go to all this trouble on a whim. I needed to make sure it wasn't a Thalmor trap. I'm not your enemy. I already gave you the horn. I'm actually trying to help you. I just need you to hear me out."
- "You'd better have a good reason for dragging me here."
- "It was the only way I could make sure it wasn't a Thalmor trap. I'm not your enemy. I already gave you the horn. I'm actually trying to help you. I just need you to hear me out."
- "I just came here for the horn."
- "And now you have it. No harm done. I knew the Greybeards would send you for the horn if they thought you were Dragonborn. Taking it was the only way I could be sure this wasn't a Thalmor trap."
At this point, you can simply say that you don't have time for all this, which will anger Delphine and cause her to adopt a more aggressive tone: "I shouldn't let you walk out of here, knowing what you know. But I guess even my paranoia has its limits. You know where to find me when you change your mind. Because you will. You have to." You can also attempt to threaten her, but to no avail, as she will quickly retort, "I'll explain what I want when I want, got it? You'd already be dead if I didn't like the look of you when you walked in here. But I had to know if the rumors about you were true..." You could also take a more calm approach and let her explain the situation to you, to which she will say, "Like I said in my note, I've heard that you might be Dragonborn."
She then explains further: "I'm part of a group that's been looking for you... well, someone like you, for a very long time. If you really are Dragonborn, that is. Before I tell you any more, I need to make sure I can trust you." If you ask her if she can be trusted, she will question your logic by saying, "If you don't trust me, you were a fool to walk in here in the first place." You can then proceed with asking her various questions. When asked, she will elaborate further on the reason she took the horn from Ustengrav: "I knew the Greybeards would send you there if they thought you were Dragonborn. They're nothing if not predictable. When you showed up here, I knew you were the one the Greybeards sent, and not some Thalmor plant." If you ask her why the Thalmor are after her, she will reply, "Yes. We're very old enemies. And if my suspicions are correct, they might have something to do with the dragons returning. But that isn't important right now. What is important is that you might be Dragonborn."
Finally, you can ask why someone like her is looking for the Dragonborn. She will explain by saying, "We remember what most don't - that the Dragonborn is the ultimate dragonslayer. You're the only one that can kill a dragon permanently by devouring its soul. Can you do it? Can you devour a dragon's soul?" You will be given three dialogue choices:
- "Yes, that's how I first learned I was Dragonborn."
- "Good. And you'll have a chance to prove it to me soon enough."
- "I absorb some kind of power from dragons. That's all I can say."
- "This is no time to play the reluctant hero. You either are or aren't Dragonborn. But I'll see for myself soon enough."
- "That's none of your business."
- "You're wrong. It is my business. You may be the only one that can stop these dragons. But you'll understand that soon enough."
After exhausting other dialogue options, you can finally ask her whether there is anything that she is not telling you. She will then reveal that she has been trying to unravel the mystery of the dragons' return: "Dragons aren't just coming back, they're coming back to life. They weren't gone somewhere for all these years. They were dead, killed off centuries ago by my predecessors. Now something's happening to bring them back to life. And I need you to help me stop it." You can remark that all this sounds crazy, but Delphine says otherwise: "Ha. A few years ago, I said almost the same thing to a colleague of mine. Well, it turned out he was right and I was wrong." If you ask her what makes her think that the dragons are coming back to life, she reassures you by saying "I know they are. I've visited their ancient burial mounds and found them empty. And I've figured out where the next one will come back to life. We're going to go there, and you're going to kill that dragon. If we succeed, I'll tell you anything you want to know."
Apart from that, when asked, she will also tell you how she figured everything out: "Jeralls near Riften. The one at Kynesgrove is next if the pattern holds." If you ask her where to be heading, she will say "Kynesgrove. There's an ancient dragon burial near there. If we can get there before it happens, maybe we'll learn how to stop it." If you have visited that particular dragon mound before, you can inform her of its exact location, which surprises her: "Good. Good. Now we won't have to spend time searching for it. We should get moving. There's no time to waste."The dragonstone was a map of ancient dragon burial sites. I've looked at which ones are now empty. The pattern is pretty clear. It seems to be spreading from the southeast, down in the
At this point, you will be given two dialogue choices:
- "Let's go kill a dragon."
- "I need to get into my traveling gear. Give me a minute and I'll be ready. (changes outfit) That's better. Let's get on the road to Kynesgrove."
- "Hold on. I'm not ready to go yet."
- "I can't wait around for you to make up your mind. I'll meet you at Kynesgrove. Don't waste time getting there." (changes outfit)
After Delphine has ended the long conversation, you can still ask questions regarding you being the Dragonborn. She is still reluctant to give up information and will just say, "Dragons are coming back, and you're a born dragonslayer. That's all you need to know right now." You can also ask her about the Thalmor, to which she will reply that they are "The faction that rules the Aldmeri Dominion. The ones who almost destroyed the Empire during the Great War, thirty years back. There's no worse enemy to humankind in Tamriel. The Empire barely survived the last war. The Thalmor don't intend to lose the next one." If you ask why they are hunting her, she will just put it simply: "We hurt them in the past, and they have long memories."
Delphine will then proceed up the stairs for a very brief conversation with Orgnar:
|Delphine:||"Orgnar. I'm travelling. You've got the inn 'til I get back."
|Orgnar:||"Right. Happy trails."|
Journey to the East
Once outside the inn, Delphine starts running to the northeast, saying, "Kynesgrove is this way. We can travel together or split up and meet there, your choice."
If you opt to follow her, she may randomly say any of the following lines while running to Kynesgrove:
When greeting you:
- "If my analysis is correct, the dragon buried near Kynesgrove will be the next to come back to life."
- "We need to find that burial mound before its dragon comes back to life."
- "I hope you're Dragonborn, I really do. But we'll find out soon enough."
- "We may both end up dead, but at least it gets me out of Riverwood. I don't really think I'm cut out for the quiet life."
- "I doubt the Thalmor are aware of you yet. So we should be safe from them, at least."
- "Better to stick together. I don't want you to get yourself killed before we even get there."
- "Remember, we're not looking for trouble. We need to get to Kynesgrove as fast as we can."
- "Keep a sharp lookout. We can't afford any delays."
- "We'd better keep moving."
- "There's no time to waste. Let's go."
Also, throughout your journey to Kynesgrove, Delphine has several scripted dialogues at various landmarks dotted along the route to Kynesgrove:
- When nearing Valtheim Towers, she warns you, "This bandit hideout. But it's also the shortest way to Kynesgrove, so... we may have to kill a few bandits."
- When Cradlecrush Rock is directly on the opposite side of the river, she will remark, "No need to bother with giants right now. Just keep your distance."
- Somewhere near Fort Amol, before the stone bridge, she will suggest, "We'll cross to the White River and follow it to Windhelm. Then we can swing south to Kynesgrove."
- As you approach Mixwater Mill, she wryly says, "There's an inn at Kynesgrove - the Braidwood. I hear they serve a nice dark ale. Nothing on the Sleeping Giant, of course."
- As you pass by Morvunskar, she will say, "I'm glad you were willing to trust me. I know it probably wasn't the best way to introduce myself. But old habits... you know."
- When crossing the bridge towards Windhelm Stables, she informs you, "Not too much farther now. Kynesgrove is just down the road to the southeast of here."
- Once you reach Kynesgrove, she will say, "This is Kynesgrove. Not much to look at. "
Flesh Against Time
As you travel up the slope towards Braidwood Inn, Delphine suddenly comes to a halt, saying, "Wait. Something's wrong." The innkeeper Iddra will come running down, yelling, "No, you don't want to go up there! A dragon... it's attacking!" After a short conversation with the innkeeper, Delphine beckons you and rushes up the hill: "Come on. Hurry. We might be too late." The moment she sees Alduin flying above, she will exclaim, "Lorkhan's eyes! Look at that big bastard! Keep your head down, let's see what it does." She will then continue up the hill in sneak mode with her weapons drawn. If you attempt to speak to her now, she will only say, "Stay under cover. This is what we came for. We need to see what happens." She may also say, "Steady. Let's see what it does." Otherwise, her line will be: "Come on. We need to find out what's happening up there!"
As Alduin is resurrecting the dragon Sahloknir, Delphine will hide behind a large rock, whispering, "Steady. I don't know what's happening. Let's watch and wait. This is worse than I thought..." After a few exchanges between the two dragons in the dragon tongue, Alduin notices you and orders Sahloknir to attack. If you try to talk to Delphine, she will shout at you: "Kill the damn dragon! Unless you have a better idea?!" She also has various dialogue lines during combat, depending on the situation.
When Sahloknir is flying around and attacking from above:
- "Take that thing down!"
- "We've got to bring it down!"
- "Don't let it get too close!"
- "We've got to ground that bastard!"
While Sahloknir is on the ground:
- "Come on! This is our best chance!"
- "Attack while it's landed!"
- "Now it's my turn, you son of a bitch."
- "For the Blades!"
After Sahloknir is finally dead, Delphine will exclaim, "I'll be damned, you did it! That was well done. Come on. I've been wanting a closer look at one of these buggers." She will then start to walk towards Sahloknir's body. As you approach the dragon's body, you will begin to absorb its soul in front of an astonished Delphine, who exclaims, "Wait. Something's happening... gods above!" Delphine, now stunned and nearly speechless, manages to say, "So you really are... I... it's true, isn't it? You really are Dragonborn."
If you speak to Delphine now, she will say, "I owe you some answers, don't I? Go ahead. Whatever you want to know. Nothing held back." You can now ask her a flurry of questions regarding a few topics (outlined in the table below), which will lead to yet another lengthy conversation with her:
|Your Dialogue||Delphine's Reply|
|Topic 1: The Blades|
|"Who are you and what do you want with me?"||"I'm one of the last members of the Blades. A very long time ago, the Blades were dragonslayers, and we served the Dragonborn, the greatest dragonslayer. For the last two hundred years, since the last Dragonborn emperor, the Blades have been searching for a purpose. Now that dragons are coming back, our purpose is clear again. We need to stop them."|
|"The Blades? Who are they?"||"Exactly. Nobody even remembers our name these days. We used to be known across Tamriel as the protectors of the Septim Emperors. Those days are long gone, though. For the last two hundred years, we've been searching for the next Dragonborn to guide and guard, as we are sworn to do. But we never found one. Until now."|
|Topic 2: The Dragons' Return|
|"What do you know about the dragons coming back?"||"Not a damn thing. I was just as surprised as you to find that big black dragon here."|
|"I've seen that dragon before, the one that got away."||"Really? Where?"|
|"It was the one that attacked Helgen, when Ulfric escaped from the Imperials."||"Interesting. Same dragon... Damn it, we're blundering around in the dark here! We need to figure out who's behind it all!"|
|Topic 3: The Thalmor|
|"What's our next move?"||"The first thing we need to do is figure out who's behind the dragons. The Thalmor are our best lead. If they aren't involved, they'll know who is."|
|"What makes you think the Thalmor are bringing dragons back?"||"Nothing solid. Yet. But my gut tells me it can't be anybody else. The Empire had captured Ulfric. The war was basically over. Then a dragon attacks, Ulfric escapes, and the war is back on. And now the dragons are attacking everywhere, indiscriminately. Skyrim is weakened, the Empire is weakened. Who else gains from that but the Thalmor?"|
|"Why are the Thalmor after you?"||"Before the Great War, the Blades helped the Empire against the Thalmor. Our Grand Master saw them as the greatest threat to Tamriel. At the time, that was true. Maybe it still is. So we fought them in the shadows, all across Tamriel. We thought we were more than a match for them. We were wrong."|
|"So, we need to find out what the Thalmor know about the dragons. Any ideas?"||"If we could get into the Thalmor Embassy... it's the center of their operations in Skyrim... Problem is, that place is locked up tighter than a miser's purse. They could teach me a few things about paranoia..."|
|"So how do we get into the Thalmor Embassy?"||"I'm not sure yet. I have a few ideas, but I'll need some time to pull things together... Meet me back in Riverwood. If I'm not back when you get there, wait for me. I shouldn't be long. Keep an eye on the sky. This is only going to get worse."|
Delphine finally ends the conversation, hands you a copy of the key to her secret basement, and runs off, heading back to the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood. This ends the current quest and triggers the next one, Diplomatic Immunity.
Once the quest starts, Delphine will be making her way back to Riverwood, and you can opt to accompany her again. At any time during the return journey, speaking to her again will open up new dialogue options with her. If you ask her about the importance of you being Dragonborn, she will say, "The Blades have always guarded and guided the Dragonborn. But we'd forgotten why. Now our purpose is clear. I'm all that's left of the Blades, and you're the Dragonborn. Together we're going to stop these dragons, if we have to put every last one of them back in the ground."
When you ask her to explain what happened to the Blades, she will say, "The Thalmor happened. They've been hunting down every Blade they can find for the past thirty years. Thanks to the White-Gold Concordat, they've been able to operate throughout the Empire with impunity." You will then be presented with three dialogue options:
- ""White-Gold Concordat"? What's that?"
- "The Great War... only thirty years past and already ancient history to most people. Seems to me like it just ended... it's never really ended for me. But to answer your question, the White-Gold Concordat was the fancy name they put on the peace treaty between the Empire and the Thalmor. It ended the war and saved the Empire to fight another day. Also trampled on the sacred name of Talos, and gave the Thalmor free reign to stamp out Talos worship throughout the Empire."
- "Why does the Empire allow the Thalmor free reign?"
- "Part of the cost of peace. Emperor Titus Mede saved his Empire at a very high price. A price that included the Blades. The Nords didn't like the peace treaty much either. Thirty years later, the Empire ends up with the Stormcloak rebellion on its hands. No doubt exactly as the Thalmor intended."
- "So why are they hunting you?"
- "When I was young, our leaders became obsessed with the Thalmor threat. They believed that if and when we found a Dragonborn, we would need to protect him/her against the Thalmor. Turns out, we fatally underestimated the Thalmor. They smashed us with ease during the Great War. I was one of the few who escaped. For a long time, all I cared about was staying alive, and taking revenge on the Thalmor when I could. But then the dragons returned. And I remembered that the Blades used to be dragonslayers. And that we were sworn to protect the Dragonborn, the greatest dragonslayer of all."
You can also press her further about the Thalmor, following which she will ask, "Hmm. There's no simple answer to that. You want the long version or the short version?" You will be presented with two dialogue choices:
- "Give me the long version."
- "They're the rulers of the Aldmeri Dominion - what used to be the Imperial provinces of Summerset Isle and Valenwood. The Thalmor take the arrogance of high elves to the extreme - they believe they are the rightful rulers of all of Tamriel. For a century or more, the Thalmor had been picking away at the Empire. Valenwood was the first, then the province of Elsweyr. But even the Blades didn't see the Great War coming. We underestimated the Thalmor, and they destroyed us."
- "Just the short version."
- "They're the high elves that rule the Aldmeri Dominion. Sworn enemies of the Empire and everything it stands for. Thirty years ago, they invaded the Empire and came close to destroying it. They smashed the Blades in the process. Since then, they've been working to weaken the Empire any way they can."
An Astute Scheme
Once you reach the Sleeping Giant Inn, proceed down to Delphine's secret basement and speak to her. You will then be debriefed on her infiltration plan: "I've figured out how we're going to get you into the Thalmor Embassy." If you ask her why she is not coming, she will explain, "That would be a bad idea. I'd be too likely to attract the wrong kind of attention. But they don't know you at all, yet." You can remark that it did not take her long to devise a plan, to which she will reply, "I've been doing this a long time, remember? While the Thalmor's been looking for me, I've been watching them." If you suggest to simply fight your way in, she will object by saying, "So that's your plan, huh? Even if you could survive, by the time you got inside, whatever documents they had would be long gone. We're there for information, remember? Trust me, I've been doing this for a long time. My way is better."
Delphine will then proceed with giving you a rather long and detailed briefing on her infiltration plan: "The Thalmor ambassador, Elenwen, regularly throws parties where the rich and connected cozy up to the Thalmor. I can get you into one of those parties. Once you're inside the Embassy, you get away and find Elenwen's secret files. I have a contact inside the Embassy. He's not up for this kind of high-risk mission, but he can help you. His name's Malborn. Wood elf, plenty of reason to hate the Thalmor. You can trust him. I'll get word for him to meet you in Solitude, at the Winking Skeever -- you know it? While you're doing that, I'll work on getting you an invitation to Elenwen's little party. Meet me at the Solitude stables after you've arranged things with Malborn. Any questions?"
You can ask her a couple of questions, to which she will answer accordingly. Asking her whether her contact can be trusted, she reassures you by saying, "Don't worry about Malborn. He's not a dangerous character like you, but he hates the Thalmor at least as much as I do. He's a wood elf - the Thalmor wiped out his family back in Valenwood during one of their purges that we never hear about. Luckily they don't know who he really is, or he wouldn't be serving drinks at the Ambassador's parties." If you ask her how to even get into the party, she will say, "Let me handle that. You'll have a real invitation, don't worry. As long as you can act the part of a Thalmor toady, you'll get past the guards." She will also explain to you what to do once you're inside the embassy: "That's when the fun starts. You'll have to slip away from the party without raising the alarm. Then you'll need to find Elenwen's office and search her files. Malborn should be able to point you in the right direction." Once you tell her that you're ready for the mission, she will say, "Sounds good. Be careful."
After meeting with Malborn and giving him the items you want smuggled into the embassy, rendezvous with Delphine at the stables. Once she sees you, she will approach you and ask, "Have you given Malborn the gear you want to smuggle into the embassy?" Tell her that everything is taken care of, and she will proceed with giving you another short debrief: "Good. I have your invitation to the party. But the only way you're going to get past the guards is if they really believe you're an invited guest. Which means you need to look the part, and not be armed to the teeth. Here, put this on." After handing you a set of party clothes, a matching pair of boots, and the invitation letter, she will say, "When you're ready, I'll keep the rest of your gear safe until you get back. You'll only have what Malborn smuggled in for you, plus whatever you can pick up inside." If you speak to her before wearing the party clothes, she will make a grave comment about your attire: "You can't go to a party at the Thalmor Embassy dressed like that."
Once you're all dressed up, Delphine will remark, "Hmm. I guess that will have to do. You should pass for a real guest, at least until you open your mouth. Ready to board the carriage to the embassy?" If you tell her that you're still not prepared, she expresses her agitation by saying, "This is no time for cold feet. I've put everything in your hands here, not least Malborn's life. Now do whatever it is you need to do, and let's get going before we miss our chance!" Once you're ready, she will remove all your remaining items and, sounding rather worried, say, "Don't worry, it will all be waiting for you when you get back. Just make sure you get back out of there alive with the information we need. Good luck." You will automatically board the carriage and be on your way to the Thalmor Embassy to carry out your infiltration mission.
A Familiar Name
After successfully infiltrating the embassy and escaping, return to Delphine in Riverwood with the documents you have obtained. Head down to the secret basement and a relieved Delphine will approach you and say, "You made it out alive, at least. Your gear's safe in my room, as promised. Did you learn anything useful?" Once you tell her the that the Thalmor know nothing about the dragon attacks, she will be rather skeptical: "Really? That seems hard to believe. You're sure about that?" You can ask her why she doesn't believe you, and she will reply, "You're right, you're right. I just... I was sure it must have been them. If not the Thalmor, who? Or... what?" When you tell her that they’re looking for someone named Esbern, she will be very surprised, though sounding a bit pleased: "Esbern? He's alive? I thought the Thalmor must have got him years ago. That crazy old man... Figures the Thalmor would be on his trail, though, if they were trying to find out what's going on with the dragons." When asked, she will also give you a quick explanation on what the Thalmor would want with Esbern: "You mean, aside from wanting to kill every Blade they can lay their hands on? Esbern was one of the Blades archivists, back before the Thalmor smashed us during the Great War. He knew everything about the ancient dragonlore of the Blades. Obsessed with it, really. Nobody paid much attention back then. I guess he wasn't as crazy as we all thought."
You can then remark that the Thalmor think the Blades know about the dragons, following which Delphine will reply, "Ironic, right? The old enemies assume that every calamity must be a plot by the other side... Even so, we've got to find Esbern before they do. He'll know how to stop the dragons if anybody does. Do they know where he is?" After telling her the location of Esbern's probable hideout, she will suggest to you a course of action: "Riften, eh? Probably down in the Ratway, then. It's where I'd go. You'd better get to Riften. Talk to Brynjolf. He's... well-connected. A good starting point at least." If you have the quest Taking Care of Business concurrently active, she will instead say, "You'd better get to Riften. Ask around the Ragged Flagon, in the Ratway. It's at least a good starting point." She will also give you a secret message to earn Esbern's trust: "Oh, and when you find Esbern... if you think I'm paranoid... you may have some trouble getting him to trust you. Just ask him where he was on the 30th of Frostfall. He'll know what it means."
Delphine will then end the conversation, completing the current quest and triggering the next one, A Cornered Rat. You are now free to claim all your belongings from Delphine’s chest before leaving for Riften.
A Cornered Rat
In this quest, Delphine tasks you to search for her old colleague, Esbern. According to her, Brynjolf of the Thieves Guild will provide you with the intel on his exact location—for a small favor. You may then proceed with your search for Esbern, who turns out to be in the Ratway Warrens. However, should you decide to return to Delphine at this point to inform her, she will be quite annoyed, saying, "So what are you doing here? Lorkhan's eyes, you can't let the Thalmor get to him first! Get back to Riften!" Also, should you again decide to return to Delphine after you managed to locate Esbern, but did not identify yourself or use the secret message, she will become rather agitated: "Did you tell him you were Dragonborn? I didn't think so. Lorkhan's eyes, do I have to do everything myself? Get back to Riften before the Thalmor find him!"
After locating Esbern and successfully convincing him to leave the sewers, make your out way out of the Ratway and return to Delphine in the Sleeping Giant Inn. The current quest will end, which begins the next quest, Alduin's Wall.
When your conversation with Esbern ends, this quest will be triggered. You will have to navigate your way out of the Ratway and away from the clutches of the Thalmor, who are also present in the sewers. Once you and Esbern have successfully escaped, return to Riverwood and speak to Delphine in her secret basement at the Sleeping Giant Inn.
Inform her that you have found Esbern, and she will ask, "Really? He's safe? Where is he?" If you happen to be much further ahead of Esbern upon arrival at the inn, you can only tell her that he's on his way. She will then be taken by surprise, saying, "What? You left him on his own? With the Thalmor after him? Go make sure he's safe and bring him here!" However, if Esbern is following you, you can tell her that he is right outside, which floods her with relief, saying, "Mara's mercy, then he's safe! Come on, we have a lot to discuss." You can then witness their reunion and a short conversation:
|Esbern:||"Delphine! I... it's good to see you. It's been... a long time."|
|Delphine:||(to Esbern) "It's good to see you, too, Esbern. It's been too long, old friend. Too long. Well, then. You made it, safe and sound. Good. Come on, I have a place we can talk."|
|Delphine:||(to Orgnar) "Orgnar, hold down the bar for a minute, will you?"|
She will then lead the group to her basement, whispering, "This way." If you try to speak to her, she will say "Let's see what Esbern has to say." Once the whole group is below, she will start off a discussion regarding Alduin and the dragons:
|Delphine:||"Now then. I assume you know about..."|
|Esbern:||"Oh yes! Dragonborn! Indeed, yes. This changes everything, of course. There's no time to lose. We must locate... let me show you. I know I had it here, somewhere... Give me... just a moment..."|
|Esbern:||"Ah! Here it is. Come, let me show you."|
Esbern, after searching through his inventory, will then take out a book named Annals of the Dragonguard, place it on the table, and continue his explanation about the dragons' return, as well as a bit of history:
|Esbern:||"You see, right here. Sky Haven Temple, constructed around one of the main Akaviri military camps in the Reach, during their conquest of Skyrim."|
|Delphine:||(to you) "Do you know what he's talking about?"|
|Esbern:||"Shh! This is where they built Alduin's Wall, to set down in stone all their accumulated dragonlore. A hedge against the forgetfulness of centuries. A wise and foresighted policy, in the event. Despite the far-reaching fame of Alduin's Wall at the time - one of the wonders of the ancient world - its location was lost."|
|Delphine:||"Esbern. What are you getting at?"|
|Esbern:||"You mean... you don't mean to say you haven't heard of Alduin's Wall? Either of you?"|
|Delphine:||"Let's pretend we haven't. What's Alduin's Wall and what does it have to do with stopping the dragons?"|
|Esbern:||"Alduin's Wall was where the ancient Blades recorded all they knew of Alduin and his return. Part history, part prophecy. Its location has been lost for centuries, but I've found it again. Not lost, you see, just forgotten. The Blades archives held so many secrets... I was only able to save a few scraps..."|
|Delphine:||"So you think that Alduin's Wall will tell us how to defeat Alduin?"|
|Esbern:||"Well, yes, but... there's no guarantee, of course."|
|Delphine:||"Sky Haven Temple it is, then. I knew you'd have something for us, Esbern."|
A Perilous Journey
Delphine will now approach you and impart her knowledge of the area: "I know the area of the Reach that Esbern's talking about. Near what's now known as Karthspire, in the Karth River canyon. We can meet you there, or all travel together, your call." If you ask for her opinion on the best way to get there, she will suggest two possibilities: "From Riverwood? The road south through Falkreath is the most direct route. Or you could catch the carriage from Whiterun to Markarth and then approach from the west. Either way, the Reach is wild country these days. The Forsworn are everywhere. Best be careful."
You must now make your decision to either travel to the Karthspire alone or travel as a group:
- "I'll meet you at Karthspire."
- "Your call. Might be safer to travel separately - attract less attention that way. Don't worry, I'll get Esbern there in one piece. We'll wait for you near Karthspire. Good luck."
- "Let's travel there together. Are you ready to go?"
- "Always. Let's go see if we can find this Sky Haven Temple."
After that, the two Blades will proceed back up the stairs to the inn. Delphine finally decides to leave the inn for good, forsaking her guise as an innkeeper. She relinquishes the ownership of the inn to Orgnar, bidding him farewell:
|Delphine:||"Orgnar, this is it. The inn is yours. I'm probably never coming back here."|
|Orgnar:||"Well, now. That's something to think about."|
|Delphine:||"Take care of yourself, Orgnar. Goodbye."|
|Orgnar:||"Yeah... sure. You, too, Delphine. You be safe."|
Depending on your choice above, Delphine will then say, "We'll meet up near Karthspire." or "Lead on to Sky Haven Temple." If you opted to travel as a group, she repeats this line a number of times throughout your journey to the temple. Once you are in the Reach, she will instead say, "I think we're getting close. Let's keep moving."
Once you entered the Karthspire, advance further into the cave to discover some stone ruins and a puzzle consisting of three rotating pillars.
|Delphine:||"This looks promising."|
|Esbern:||"Yes. Definitely early Akaviri stonework here."|
|Delphine:||"We've got to get this bridge down. These pillars must have something to do with it."|
|Esbern:||"Yes. These are Akaviri symbols. Let's see... you have the symbol for "King"... and "Warrior"... And of course the symbol for "Dragonborn." That's the one that appears to have a sort of arrow shape pointing downward at the bottom."|
When you have solved the puzzle, Delphine will say "Whatever you did, it worked. Let's see what else those old Blades left in our way." They will then press on further through a tunnel until a chamber, where Esbern will come to a halt all of a sudden.
|Delphine:||"Why are you stopping?"|
|Esbern:||"We should be careful here. See these symbols on the floor?"|
|Delphine:||"Hmm, Esbern's right. Look like pressure plates."|
|Esbern:||(to you) "Be careful. We'll cross once it's safe."|
Once you have successfully deactivated the trap, they urge you to move forward:
|Delphine:||"Looks safe now. Let's move."|
|Esbern:||"Yes, yes! I think we must be close to the entrance."|
The group can then safely exit the chamber and continue across a pair of bridges, and finally reach a large chamber with the entrance to Sky Haven Temple. At the far side of the room is a large stone head—which according to Esbern is the visage of Reman Cyrodiil—and a large carved circle on the floor.
|Esbern:||"Wonderful! Remarkably well-preserved, too. Ah... here's the "blood seal." Another of the lost Akaviri arts. No doubt triggered by... well, blood. Your blood, Dragonborn."|
|Delphine:||"Esbern's probably right. Try using your blood on the carved seal on the floor."|
If you speak to Delphine, she will anxiously say one of the following lines: "Let's get this door open and see what we've got" or "Alduin isn't getting any weaker while we stand around here gawping at the architecture." Also, while idling and waiting for you to activate the blood seal, she may say, "Try dripping blood onto the carving on the floor." She may adopt a more humorous tone, saying, "If you need help drawing some blood, let me know."
Once the blood seal has been activated, they exclaim:
|Delphine:||"That's done it! Look, it's coming to life! You did it. There's the entrance! After you, Dragonborn. You should have the honor of being the first to set foot in Sky Haven Temple."|
|Esbern:||"There's no telling what we might find inside!"|
A Forgotten Sanctum
As you enter the temple, Delphine will light up several braziers along the corridor with her torch as the group proceeds deeper into the temple. Esbern will be very engrossed in the architecture:
|Esbern:||"Fascinating! Original Akaviri bas-reliefs... almost entirely intact! Amazing... you can see how the Akaviri craftsmen were beginning to embrace the more flowing Nordic style..."|
|Delphine:||"We're here for Alduin's Wall, right, Esbern?"|
|Esbern:||"Yes, of course. We'll have more time to look around later, I suppose. Let's see what's up ahead."|
Once you are in the middle of the main chamber, where Alduin's Wall is located, Esbern will again be very captivated—this time by the wall:
|Esbern:||"Shor's bones! Here it is! Alduin's Wall... so well preserved... I've never seen a finer example of early second era Akaviri sculptural relief..."|
|Delphine:||"Esbern. We need information, not a lecture on art history."|
|Esbern:||"Yes, yes. Let's see what we have..."|
Esbern will then continue explaining the meaning of the carvings while walking down the wall's length:
|Esbern:||"Look, here is Alduin! This panel goes back to the beginning of time, when Alduin and the Dragon Cult ruled over Skyrim. Here, the humans rebel against their dragon overlords -- the legendary Dragon War. Alduin's defeat is the centerpiece of the Wall. You see, here he is falling from the sky. The Nord Tongues -- masters of the Voice -- are arrayed against him."|
|Delphine:||"So, does it show how they defeated him? Isn't that why we're here?"|
|Esbern:||"Patience, my dear. The Akaviri were not a straightforward people. Everything is couched in allegory and mythic symbolism. Yes, yes. This here, coming from the mouths of the Nord heroes -- this is the Akaviri symbol for "Shout." But... there's no way to know what Shout is meant."|
|Delphine:||"You mean they used a Shout to defeat Alduin? You're sure?"|
|Esbern:||"Hmm? Oh, yes. Presumably something rather specific to dragons, or even Alduin himself. Remember, this is where they recorded all they knew of Alduin and his return."|
|Delphine:||"So we're looking for a Shout, then. Damn it."|
Delphine will then approach you and question you regarding the shout: "Have you ever heard of such a thing? A Shout that can knock a dragon out of the sky?" You will be presented with two dialogue options:
- "No, I've never heard of anything like that."
- "I was afraid you were going to say that. I guess there's nothing for it. We'll have to ask the Greybeards for help. I hoped to avoid involving them in this, but we have no other choice."
- "The Greybeards might know."
- "You're probably right. I was hoping to avoid having to involve them in this, but it seems we have no choice."
Your choice does not matter as both options will lead to the same set of subsequent dialogue options. You can then ask her what she has against the Greybeards. She will give you quite a long explanation with a rather bitter tone: "If they had their way, you'd do nothing but sit up on their mountain with them and talk to the sky, or whatever it is they do. The Greybeards are so afraid of power that they won't use it. Think about it. Have they tried to stop the civil war, or done anything about Alduin? No. And they're afraid of you, of your power. Trust me, there's no need to be afraid. Think of Tiber Septim. Do you think he'd have founded the Empire if he'd listened to the Greybeards?"
If you remark that the Greybeards may be correct as power can be dangerous, she will quickly give a retort: "Only if you don't know how to use it. All the great heroes have had to learn to use their power. Those that shrank from their destiny... well, you've never heard of them, have you? And there are the villains - those that misused their power. There's always a choice, and there's always a risk. But if you live in fear of what might go wrong, you'll end up doing nothing. Like the Greybeards up on their mountain." However, if you instead tell her that you won't be afraid of your own power, she will say, "Good. The Greybeards can teach you a lot, but don't let them turn you away from your destiny. You're Dragonborn, and you're the only one who can stop Alduin. Don't forget it."
Once you have exhausted all other dialogue, tell her that you will be going to see Arngeir about the shout, to which she will reply, "Right. Good thing they've already let you into their little cult. Not likely they'd help Esbern or me if we came calling. We'll look around Sky Haven Temple and see what else the old Blades might have left for us. It's a better hideout than I could have hoped for. Talos guard you."
After your conversation with Delphine, Esbern will continue talking about the wall. Delphine, who is rather uninterested, will simply say, "Well, I'm going to look around some more. See what the old Blades left for us." once he is finished with his lecture.
The Throat of the World
In this quest, you are required to travel to the highest mountain in Tamriel, the Throat of the World, to meet up with the Greybeards' leader, Paarthurnax. Once you have passed stage 20 of this quest, there will be four new conversation scenes between Delphine and Esbern that you can observe.
|Esbern:||"The architecture of this temple is marvelous. Have you ever seen stonework like this, Delphine?"|
|Delphine:||"I'm not a scholar, Esbern. How many times do I have to tell you?"|
|Esbern:||"Nonsense. Is a child who learns to read "not a scholar" of literature? Is a smith's apprentice "not a scholar" of blacksmithing?"|
|Delphine:||"Well, I'm "not a scholar" of architecture. And that's that."|
|Delphine:||"Do you ever think about them, Esbern? The others?"|
|Esbern:||"The other Blades? No. Best not to think what the Thalmor do to their victims, my dear."|
|Delphine:||"You're right. Sorry to bring it up."|
|Esbern:||"I've been writing some notes about all the Akaviri designs we've discovered. If only the Imperial Library could see my research."|
|Delphine:||"Esbern, if the Empire could even acknowledge the Blades existence, we'd all have reason to celebrate."|
|Esbern:||"Now, now my dear. I'm talking about academia, not politics."|
|Delphine:||"There's a difference?"|
|Esbern:||"I've been chronicling the recent history of the Blades. What would you like your entry to say?"|
|Esbern:||"Come now. You did more than just survive all those years. Your evasion of the Thalmor would be useful for future Blades to study."|
|Delphine:||"What? Your heroic tale of locking yourself in the Ratway for years isn't enough?"|
Upon the completion of this quest, Delphine will no longer wear her set of light leather armor. As she is claiming the title of acting Grandmaster of the Blades, she will be clad entirely in the Blades' specialized heavy equipment for the duration of the game.
When you return to the temple and speak to Delphine, she will be quick to ask you, "Were the Greybeards any help? Did they know Elder Scroll to proceed. She will then reply, "An Elder Scroll? That's not going to be easy to come by. Esbern's your man for that kind of thing. He may be able to at least point you in the right direction." If you ask her again regarding the scroll, she will simply say, "Ask Esbern. If he doesn't know himself, he'll know where to find it out."anything about the Shout used against Alduin?" You can then tell her that you require an
After your encounter with Alduin on the Throat of the World, if you return to Delphine, she will impatiently ask you, "What's happened? Did you find a way to learn the Dragonrend Shout?" You can tell her that you have learned the shout and used it on Alduin, but he escaped. She will then give you a piece of advice: "Esbern should be able to help. He's spent his whole life poring over every old book he could find about dragons and that prophecy. He's been digging around the records the Blades left here, too. But we can talk about that later."
A turning point in the Skyrim storyline, this quest serves as an intersection of two questlines. A truce is to be brokered between the two warring parties in the civil war—the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion—in order to gain the help of Whiterun's jarl in trapping a dragon, and it is up to you to oversee the negotiations.
Upon your arrival at High Hrothgar, you will be able to witness a heated argument between the Blades and the Greybeards:
|Delphine:||"So, Arngeir, is it? You know why we're here. Are you going to let us in or not?"|
|Arngeir:||"You were not invited here. You are not welcome here."|
|Delphine:||"We have as much right to be at this council as all of you. More, actually, since we were the ones that put the Dragonborn on this path."|
|Arngeir:||"Were you? The hubris of the Blades truly knows no bounds."|
|Delphine:||"If it were up to you, the Dragonborn would sit dreaming on this mountain doing nothing!"|
|Esbern:||"Delphine, we're not here to rehearse old grudges. The matter at hand is urgent. Alduin must be stopped. You wouldn't have called this council if you didn't agree. We know a great deal about the situation and the threat that Alduin poses to us all. You need us here if you want this council to succeed."|
|Arngeir:||(after a long pause) "Very well. You may enter."|
If you have already started the quest Paarthurnax and have done the deed, the fourth and fifth dialogue lines above become:
|Arngeir:||"I know what path you set him/her on. And now Paarthurnax's wisdom is lost to us, just when we need it most."|
|Delphine:||"He/She did what had to be done. It was long overdue. My only regret is that I wasn't able to kill him myself."|
If you instead have agreed to not kill Paarthurnax, these lines become:
|Arngeir:||"We know what path you've set him/her on. But he/she has made a different choice. Paarthurnax is still safe from your malice."|
|Delphine:||"For now. The Blades' memory is long, as you know."|
After their conversation, the Blades will then make their way to the council table. If you try to initiate a conversation with Delphine, she will only say, "We should get started. Alduin is only getting stronger." or "What are we waiting for?"
Delphine doesn't actually play a part in negotiating a truce; she merely remains quiet at her seat throughout the negotiations, except for one part when Esbern interjects the war of words between Ulfric Stormcloak and General Tullius:
|Esbern:||"Stop! Are you so blind to our danger that you can't see past your petty disagreements? Here you sit arguing about... nothing! While the fate of the land hangs in the balance!"|
|Ulfric:||"Is he with you, Delphine? If so, I advise you to tell him to watch his tongue."|
|Delphine:||"He is with me. And I advise you both to listen to what he has to say, before you do anything rash."|
Esbern will then continue lecturing the delegations about the mortal danger involved with the return of the dragons, after which the negotiations will resume proper.
This quest will be triggered upon the completion of negotiating a truce during Season Unending, unless you have already started the quest somewhere during the course of The Fallen. After everyone rises from their seats, Delphine will approach you and say, "There's one more thing. We know about Paarthurnax." You will then be presented with two dialogue options:
- "You know... what?"
- "Paarthurnax. The dragon, that the Greybeards have been protecting for all these years."
- "Turns out he's a dragon. But he helped me."
- "That's fine. We needed his help. Now we don't, and it's long past time for him to pay for his crimes. And he's not just any dragon. He was the right hand of Alduin. He committed atrocities so infamous they are still remembered, thousands of years later."
Regardless of your choice, Delphine will reply, "He needs to die. He deserves to die. And it falls to you to kill him. Until he's dead... well, I'm sorry, but we would dishonor our oaths as Blades if we continued to help you."
After this exchange, whenever you're starting a conversation with her, she will say, "Do the right thing. Paarthurnax deserves to die." or "We have nothing to talk about until Paarthurnax is dead." Also, if you are in Sky Haven Temple, she may also say, "My oath binds me, Dragonborn. Until Paarthurnax is dead, you aren't welcome here." If you ask her what to do regarding Paarthurnax, she will ask you to make a decision: "Make your choice, Dragonborn. You're either with us or against us." You can press her further on why Paarthurnax needs to die, to which she will reply, "Here's the big picture. He helped Alduin enslave our ancestors. He may have betrayed Alduin in the end, but that makes him worse, not better. We can't afford to give Paarthurnax the opportunity to betray us in turn, and return to his old master."
If you have finished Civil War questline, Season Unending won't be triggered. After you complete the main questline and defeat the World-Eater in combat, you may return to Sky Haven Temple and find Delphine and Esbern outside the temple. Esbern will tell her about his nightmare. After their conversation, Delphine will approach you and trigger this quest as normal.
If you have killed Paarthurnax, return to Delphine and ask her about him. She will ask you, "Have you decided to do the right thing, Dragonborn?" You can then tell her that you have killed Paarthurnax and Delphine will be relieved, saying, "I knew we could count on you! Glad to have you back on our side."
Rebuilding the Blades
After the completion of Alduin's Wall, a new dialogue option with Delphine will be available. Speak to her and ask her why the Blades is made up of only two people. She will reply, "The Thalmor hunted us down, remember? It wasn't exactly great for recruitment. But we have a headquarters of a sort now. We'll rebuild the Blades. Someday." If you offer to help her in finding new recruits, she will say, "If you find anyone you think would make a good recruit, I can certainly take a look at them. Remember, though, being a Blade is a lifelong commitment. Their loyalty has to be with us once they're in."
You can now proceed with finding a follower to be recruited into the Blades. After choosing one, bring him or her to Delphine in Sky Haven Temple and tell her that you brought someone to be inducted into the Blades. Since being a Blade is binding, Delphine will ask you for confirmation: "Are you sure? I'll need to ask them to take an oath to leave their old life behind and stay here from now on." Once you tell her that you're sure, she will say, "Very well. He/She seems like a fighter to me. I'll give him/her the oath. If you find any more candidates bring them here."
Delphine will then proceed with giving the oath to your first recruit:
|Delphine:||"You there. The Dragonborn wishes to give you the chance to join the lost guardians of Tamriel. The dragon slayers. The Blades. Do you wish to become a Blade?"|
|Delphine:||"Are you willing to trade away all claims and titles of your former life? To live here and devote yourself to protecting Tamriel from danger?"|
|Delphine:||"Then by my right as acting grandmaster, I name you a Blade, with all the privileges, rights, and burdens that brings. Godspeed."|
After this, you can bring a second and third follower to Delphine to be inducted into the Blades, and she will again ask you for ratification: "You want this one to become a Blade? You're sure?" Tell her that you're sure, and she will reply "Very well. I'll do the oath later. Let's just get 'em geared up and ready to fight." After bringing her the second recruit, she will remark "I can handle training one more. After that, I think we'll be ready for a little dragon hunting of our own." Once you have gathered three recruits, she will say "That's enough recruits for now. Ask Esbern about the dragon lairs he's been studying. We'll have the recruits do some hunting with you." Do as she says and speak to Esbern to complete this quest and begin the repeatable radiant quest, Dragon Hunting.
Once you have finally completed the main questline, you can return to Sky Haven Temple at your leisure. If Esbern is nearby, he may tell you that Delphine has been very worried about you. Once Delphine sees you, she will approach you and say, "We heard the news from Whiterun - that you left the city on the back of a dragon! That's a little... showy, even for you. Since you're still alive, I assume you have good news to report?" You can then inform her that you have successfully traveled to Sovngarde and killed Alduin once and for all. Hearing this, she will be overjoyed, saying, "Gods above... that's better news than I had hoped! When you walked into my inn that day, I never imagined where it would all lead... dragons out of legend... Sovngarde..."
If you have completed the questline but have not killed Paarthurnax, she will have an extra dialogue line: "There's still the matter of Paarthurnax. I'm not ungrateful for what you've done. Esbern speaks for both of us. But our oath as Blades binds us. Paarthurnax must die. There's no excuse now that Alduin is dead."
|Spotting an enemy||"Look out!"|
|Taunting an enemy||"Come on. What are you waiting for?"|
|"Lorkhan's eyes, you're an ugly one, aren't you?"|
|"You're not afraid of me, are you?"|
|Spotting a pack of wolves||"Watch out. Wolves."|
|Spotting other predatory animals||"Should have picked somebody else for your dinner."|
|Spotting members of the Forsworn||"Be careful. The Forsworn are just as dangerous as they look."|
|Spotting a group of bandits||"The roads just aren't safe these days."|
|Attacked by bandits||"I don't have time for this."|
|"Where do they keep coming from?"|
|Attacking any Thalmor agent||"Did you think the Blades had been destroyed?"|
|"Remember Cloud Ruler Temple!"|
|Attacking a male Thalmor agent||"The Blades will never be defeated, Thalmor dog."|
|Attacking a female Thalmor agent||"Now it's your turn, Thalmor bitch."|
|Engaging an enemy||"Bad move."||"This one's mine."|
|"Here we go."||"This won't take long."|
|"If that's the way you want it."||"Too slow."|
|"Let's get this over with."||"You'll have to do better than that."|
|"Not bad... but it won't save you."|
|Losing sight of an enemy||"Don't let your guard down."||"Must still be here, somewhere..."|
|"Hmm. Gone. I don't like it."||"Where'd you go?"|
|"I don't see 'em any more."||"You think running will save you?"|
|"Stay alert. They may not have gone far."|
|When searching for the enemy||"Better make sure."||"Hold on, what was that?"|
|"Did you hear that?"||"I'm going to check that out."|
|"Got to be here somewhere..."||"I'm sure I heard something..."|
|"Hmm. I was sure I heard something."||"Nothing yet."|
|When giving up the search||"I must be getting jumpy."||"Nothing there. Strange."|
|After reacquiring the enemy||"I've got one!"||"Over here!"|
|"Now you're mine!"||"There you are."|
|Defeating an enemy||"Another one for the Blades."||"That takes care of that."|
|"I can always use the practice."||"That's how it's done."|
|"I was just getting warmed up."||"This is how it's done."|
|When low on health||"I could use a hand here."||"I'm not afraid of you."|
- Delphine is voiced by Joan Allen.
- She may attack you if you hold a bounty in any region. Pay off your bounties if she is hostile.
- If you follow her all the way back from the initial meeting with Farengar, she will simply switch to her innkeeper voice upon reaching the bridge despite being in armor, and there will be no option for dialogue.
- During the quest Bleak Falls Barrow, she is wearing a Thieves Guild hood during her meeting with Farengar. This, combined with her knowledge of Brynjolf's connections in Riften, may imply that she at least keeps tabs on the Thieves Guild.
- Delphine will attack you if you held a bounty but killed the last witness to remove the bounty. To avoid this, you will have to commit an additional crime in that hold and then pay the fine for that crime.
- Delphine may sometimes neglect to follow you into the attic room during The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller quest.
- After the completion of Diplomatic Immunity, Delphine may keep and equip some of the equipment given to her before entering the Thalmor Embassy.