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 Quick Walkthrough
- Speak with Brynjolf and Karliah at the Thieves Guild.
- Meet Karliah at The Shadow Stone just outside Riften.
- Enter Nightingale Hall and follow Karliah's instructions.
- Equip the Nightingale Armor.
- Proceed further into the cave and follow Karliah's instructions.
- Speak to Brynjolf about the leadership of the Guild.
 Detailed Walkthrough
Return to the Thieves Guild and show Brynjolf what you found at Riftweald Manor. He will explain the significance of your findings, and tell you to listen to Karliah.
When you speak to Karliah, she makes a reference to being at full strength before pursuing Mercer, and asks you and Brynjolf to meet her at The Shadow Stone outside of Riften. Nearby is the entrance to Nightingale Hall. Proceed inside, but don't get too far ahead - Karliah tells you more about the Nightingales and their role. After crossing the bridge, you can find a copy of the Pickpocket skill book Purloined Shadows to the right.
Your first stop is the armor chamber. Activate the stone; the Nightingale Armor is placed in your inventory. You must equip it before continuing. Follow Karliah further into the cave; side passages lead to sleeping quarters, where you can find a copy of the Sneak skill book The Red Kitchen Reader and living spaces. She will later remark that this was the Nightingales' base, and that she will return here once done with Mercer. Karliah is the only one who can operate the pull chain for the gate leading into the next area.
You are directed to stand on a specific platform. If you have a follower with you, their presence does not affect the outcome in any way. Karliah summons Nocturnal and asks to resume her role as a Nightingale as well as induct you and Brynjolf into their ranks. Nocturnal agrees. If asked, Karliah will explain the role of the Nightingales, and also how Mercer got into the vault without having the necessary keys. Brynjolf will address the issue of the leadership of the Thieves Guild, saying that he and Karliah think you would be the right person for the job, once you have done all the Thieves Guild additional jobs.
- Brynjolf may not begin walking towards Karliah in the Ragged Flagon and the dialogue will not initiate to begin the quest. Just load from an earlier save to fix this. ?
- It's possible that Brynjolf will walk away when you've arrived in the hall and are asked to get your armor. If you're not on the PC, you'll have to push him through the cave.
- You can use the console by targeting him (or typing
prid 20545), and then typing
moveto player to teleport him to you. Make sure he's near you when you don the armor when Karliah is about to ask you to take the oath, which should fix his AI (confirmed by his comment on his new outfit).
- If only you and Karliah make it to the stones before taking the oath and Brynjolf is still walking away, use console command
setstage TG08A 55. This starts the cinematic sequence without Brynjolf, who will join the show slightly later.
- You may stand on the marker to summon Nocturnal and nothing happens. Move around a little until the Cinematic begins. ?
- After entering Nightingale Hall and donning the NIghtingale armor, Karliah may pull the chain for the gate twice, when it should only be once. Because only Karliah can activate the chain, this can be problematic, trapping Karliah, Brynjolf, and possibly you inside/outside the cave. The solution to this is to quickly talk to Karliah before she can pull the chain a second time. ?
- Karliah sometimes may not meet you at Nightingale Hall, making the quest impossible to finish. ?
- Karliah will sometimes go back to the Winterhold Inn where you have met to decrypt Gallus' journal. It's related to the bug in the quest Hard Answers where the stages will not update. To solve this problem simply redo the quest step by step. The quest will reactivate.
- You can use the console and type
setStage TG06 60 and go to the cellar in the Winterhold Inn and talk again to Enthir and Karliah. After this Karliah and Brynjolf will be at the entrance of the Nightingale Hall. (On the PC you can check if this is the problem by typing
getStage TG06 in the console. If the Stage is smaller than 200 then this is the cause of Karliah's disappearance). If setting the stage to 60 doesn't work, enter
setstage TG06 200 to complete the quest Hard Answers. Karliah will then begin her long trek to Nightingale Hall. Fast travel to the hall and then wait for 24 hours and she will show up.
- Alternatively, use the console commands:
prid 00020545 (for Brynjolf) or
prid 00058F1A (for Karliah), followed by the command
moveto player. Use the latter command as many times as necessary to lead the selected NPC to the stones; you may need to activate the stone multiple times in order to get Brynjolf and/or Karliah to equip their Nightingale armors. You may still be required to use the command as you continue further down the halls. Do not use the
placeatme commands unless either NPC has completely disappeared from the game (i.e. not stuck or lost), otherwise you will create a clone of the NPC which may cause undesirable results in-game.
- Sometimes, Karliah will simply turn around and walk out of the cave instead of opening the gate. As she is the only one able to open it, this renders the quest uncompletable.
- This can be fixed by opening the console, clicking on the gate and using the console command
setstage tg08a 52. As with all console commands, exercise extreme caution.
- You can see the cutscene involving Nocturnal, by following the directions above to disable the gate, but use the console command
setstage tg08a 52.
- Attacking Karliah may cause her to turn around and open the gate.
- You can also fix Karliah from walking away if you tell her that you don't understand the full meaning of being a Nightingale. She will ask you again and then if you say you are ready, you can enter the room to finish the ritual.
- Exiting the conversation with her will allow the stage to reset itself, and may fix it.
- If nothing of the above works run to the gate while Karhlia is talking to Brynjolf. After they are done talking open the console and execute the following commands
moveto player. This should teleport Karliah to you. If she doesn't start a conversation with you just talk to her. After you accepted the oath she should now open the gate and procced inside the chamber
 Quest Stages
|Trinity Restored (TG08A)
||Before intercepting Mercer Frey, Karliah wishes to speak to both Brynjolf and myself.
(Objective is assigned): Listen to Karliah
||At this stage, Karliah will initiate the dialogue before moving on to the next stage (move to this to avoid bug).
||Karliah has indicated Brynjolf and I are to meet her at an old standing stone just outside the Southwest Gate of Riften. Her motivations for doing so are mysterious, but I suspect it has something to do with the Nightingales.
(Objective is assigned): Meet Karliah at the standing stone
||(Objective is assigned): Follow Karliah
||Karliah has informed Brynjolf and I that we're to join the elite ranks of the Nightingales and assist in reforming the trinity that was disrupted over twenty-five years ago when Mercer Frey murdered Gallus.
(Objective is assigned): Activate the Armor Stone
||(Objective is assigned): Equip the Nightingale Armor
||(Objective is assigned): Follow Karliah
||(Objective is assigned): Stand on vacant floor glyph
||I've undertaken the Oath and I'm now a Nightingale, guardian of the Twilight Sepulcher and a dedicated sentinel of the goddess Nocturnal.
||(Objective is assigned): Speak to Karliah
||(Objective is assigned): Speak to Brynjolf
||Karliah has finally revealed the fundamental mission of the Nightingales... the guardianship of the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal. This powerful artifact, normally kept safely within the Twilight Sepulcher, has been stolen by Mercer Frey. As a Nightingale, the duty to recover the Skeleton Key falls squarely upon my shoulders.
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 25, 35, 47, 52, 55