Skyrim:To Kill an Empire

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SR-qico-Dark Brotherhood.png Attempt to assassinate the Emperor while disguised as the Gourmet.
Quest Giver: Astrid
Location(s): Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, Solitude
Prerequisite Quest: Recipe for Disaster
Next Quest: Death Incarnate
Reward: None
ID: DB09
Gianna, ready to cook a meal for the Emperor

[edit] Quick Walkthrough

  1. Travel to Solitude.
  2. Enter the castle using the Gourmet's letter.
  3. Cook the Gourmet's famous stew and poison it at the end.
  4. Escape when the Emperor dies.
  5. Return to the Sanctuary.

[edit] Detailed Walkthrough

[edit] This Soup Is To Die For

The Emperor's decoy tasting his last meal

After receiving the quest from Astrid, travel to Solitude and report to Commander Maro. Show him the writ you stole from Balagog to gain entrance to the castle. Maro will allow you to pass with no trouble (commenting on your clothing depending on whether or not you are wearing the chef's hat or clothes), telling you to report to the castle's chef, Gianna. When you are wearing a chefs hat, it is time to begin. Enough! The Gourmet is here to cook, not talk! Let us begin.

Oh! Yes, but of course. Ahem. The Emperor has requested your signature dish - the Potage le Magnifique. I've taken the liberty of getting it started. But the cookbook only says so much, and everyone makes the Potage differently. I would be honored if we could make it... the Gourmet's special way. The base broth is already boiled. We can get started right now. So... which ingredient should I add next?

You now have four ingredients to select, at each stage there are three options, the normal, the strange and her choice.

Option Dialogue option Responses
First ingredient
Normal Carrots. "Carrots? Really? Okay... What next?"
Strange A sweetroll. "Ooohh.... how decadent. I never would have guessed it. What next?"
Her choice Remain silent. "Oh, I get it. This is a test, right? You want to see how well I know the Potage le Magnifique. Well then, I think a pinch of frost salts should do the trick, right? Now what?"
Second ingredient
Normal You must now add a splash of mead. "Ah, of course. I suspected as much."
Strange The next ingredient is... vampire dust. "Vampire dust? Seriously? Hmm... yes. I guess I can see how that would add a more... earthy texture. And, oddly enough, we do have some on hand... All right. What next, then?"
Her choice Remain silent. "My choice, then? Very well. I think we should add some Chaurus eggs. For additional flavor."
Third ingredient
Normal One nirnroot. "Really? Oh, I use Nirnroot as a special seasoning all the time as well. What a wonderful idea. Okay. Now what?"
Strange We shall now add... a giant's toe! "A... giant's toe? You're... sure about that?", I said a giant's toe! Do not question the Gourmet!, "Of course! I.... I'm sorry. One giant's toe. There. What, um... What next?"
Her choice Remain silent. "Ooookay.... Um.... Let me see. Thistle? Yes, let's try that. Just a sprig or two..."
Fourth ingredient
Normal Diced horker meat. "Hmmm... horker. So delicious. I swear, is there a soul alive who doesn't enjoy the taste of... Sorry, I didn't mean to get carried away. There we go, one cup of diced horker meat. I have to say, the stew seems done. Add anything else, and we may dilute the distinct flavors. So... is that it?"
Strange You must add... a septim. "A Septim? As in... a gold coin? Really? Ah, I see now. That would give the Potage le Magnifique a slightly metallic - but delicious - aftertaste. Simply brilliant. I have to say, the stew seems done. Add anything else, and we may dilute the distinct flavors. So... is that it?"
Her choice Remain silent. "My choice, hmm? All right, then - tomatoes. Simple, yet infinitely flavorful. Don't you agree? Well, I have to say, the stew seems done. Add anything else, and we may dilute the distinct flavors. So... is that it?"

When you are finished you can choose to add one final ingredient: "Oh? What is this, some kind of herb? Are you sure? The Potage tastes perfect as it is. Any other ingredient might..."

Now, now, Gianna. Who's the Gourmet here?: "Heh, I'm sorry. Of course. It's your most famous recipe, after all. All right then, your secret ingredient's been added. And if I may say so... it has been an honor, getting a chance to prepare a meal with, well... the best chef in the entire Empire. I'll carry the stew pot, and lead the way up to the dining room. I'm sure the Emperor and his guests are dying to meet you."

[edit] The Last Supper

When you are done, follow Gianna as she serves the food to the Emperor. Right before you go in, there is a copy of the Enchanting skill book Catalogue of Weapon Enchantments on the table to your left. The Emperor will be speaking with some guests about his cousin's murder when you enter. Gianna will serve the Emperor the meal you cooked and, regardless of the ingredients, he will compliment its amazing taste before dying, if you added the Jarrin Root. The guards will attack you upon the Emperor's death, and Gianna will attempt to defend you before fleeing, although this may be avoided by successfully sneaking as he dies. Once the Emperor is dead, exit through the door opposite where you entered upstairs.

[edit] Betrayal

Cross the bridge and you will be ambushed by Commander Maro and several of his agents. He reveals that the man you killed was a decoy. Maro explains that someone from the Dark Brotherhood betrayed you and revealed to Maro your plans to assassinate the Emperor. Maro agreed to allow the Brotherhood to continue its business in exchange for your life. He then tells you that because the Dark Brotherhood killed his son he intends to go back on his word and wipe them out. He has sent his agents to attack the sanctuary already. As soon as the conversation with Maro begins, your bounty in Haafingar will be set to 1500, so the city guards will be on the lookout for you. Escape the city by following the tower's stairs to the very bottom and head to the Brotherhood Sanctuary. You cannot fast travel directly to the sanctuary, so the quickest option is to fast travel to Falkreath and head west.

If you are part of the Thieves Guild and have done the quest The Dainty Sload, you can buy your way out of the city for 750 gold, paying off your bounty and allowing fast travel. If you are a Thane of Haafingar, you can use the one-time privilege of Thanes to avoid the fine for free, provided you have not already used it; however, you must first finish the quest, and you cannot avoid the fine when you are escaping Solitude. Killing the Penitus Oculatus Agents will erase your bounty.

When you arrive at the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, the quest ends.

[edit] Notes

  • You should remove all items you own or want from the sanctuary before completing this quest, or they may be lost, including the Stone of Barenziah located in Astrid's room.
    • This has been fixed by a patch.
  • Maro will have different dialogue based on your equipment when you talk to him. If you are wearing a Chef's Hat or Chef's Tunic, he will say "Your clothes... of course... I should have realized..." Otherwise, he tells you "You are not dressed as I had expected." Regardless, he allows you to pass.
  • If you escape before being stopped by a guard for your crime, you can fast travel, but it may take a while to get out of range of the guards. If you still have trouble fast traveling, you can use the carriage.
  • If you are in the form of a werewolf or vampire lord while crossing the bridge, you'll automatically change back when Maro appears.
  • After the quest, the Emperor's Tower will still be freely accessible, both from the walkway escape exit and from the front door inside the castle courtyard. However, the door to the dining hall will be permanently locked from both sides. The tower is completely abandoned after this point, so you can take what you want without consequence. Be aware that the whole place respawns, however, so it cannot be safely used as a house.

[edit] Bugs

  • The guards who arrive with Commander Maro may either remain there if you sneaked past without killing them, or respawn if you did kill them. They stand still and scowl at you, and will never attack, though they do appear as red dots on the compass if you come near the sky bridge and prevent fast travel like any other enemy. You can kill them without incurring any additional bounties, and they will not fight back. If you have an aggressive follower with you, your follower may attack them; they still will not fight back.
    • PC Only This bug is fixed by version 1.2.4 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
    • Pc22.png Their reference numbers are 643D4, 643D5 and 643D6. The problem can be fixed on the PC by entering the console (press "~") and typing prid 643D4 followed by disable, and then repeating for the other two numbers.
  • This quest may not start on completion of Recipe for Disaster.
    • Pc22.png Setting the stage through console does not work as the stage always remains 0. The cause of the bug is currently unknown, and the easiest way to overcome this bug is to skip the quest entirely. To do this, move to a location away from the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, and use the console commands completequest db09 followed by setstage db10 10. This immediately starts you on the following quest.
  • Looting the Emperor's dead body seems to cause a glitch where the world incorrectly loads and you travel on the land under the buildings' foundations, causing the quest to become stuck on "Escape from the tower". ?
    • To fix this, load from the previous autosave before cooking the Emperor's last meal and do not loot the Emperor's dead body.
  • If have a follower, you can ask them to stand in the way of the conversation between you and the cook, they may interrupt your conversation, this also happens if guards are chasing you after you clear Commander Maro but before you enter the Castle Dour. ?
    • To fix this, simply reload the last save.

[edit] Quest Stages

To Kill an Empire (DB09)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
5 It would appear all the contracts leading up to the Emperor's assassination have been completed. I must now speak with Astrid, and receive further instructions.
Objective 5: Report to Astrid
10 Using the Writ of Passage issued to the chef known as "The Gourmet," I must enter Castle Dour and play the part of the culinary master, who is scheduled to prepare a feast. This will be my opportunity to assassinate the Emperor, using any tools at my disposal.
Objective 10: Report to Commander Maro
Objective 20: Report to Gianna
Objective 25: Report to Gianna while wearing a chef's hat
Objective 30: Make the Potage le Magnifique
Objective 40: Follow Gianna to the dining room
Objective 50: Kill the Emperor
Objective 60: Escape the Tower!
70 It was a trap! The Emperor was actually Titus Mede II's double, and Commander Maro said I had been betrayed by someone within the Dark Brotherhood. Despite his deal, Maro has sent troops to destroy the Sanctuary. I must return there and help my Family!
Objective 70: Return to the Sanctuary
200 Finishes quest After learning the Emperor was actually Titus Mede II's double, and being confronted by Commander Maro, I learned Maro had betrayed the betrayer, and sent troops to destroy the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. I returned there, to lend aid to my fellow Family members.
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 75, 255.
Prev: Recipe for Disaster Up: Dark Brotherhood Next: Death Incarnate

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