A Tale of Two Mothers is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset.


A distraught mother named Lanarie cannot find her son, Arathel. The youth surrendered to the authorities—saying he was part of a plot to kill a Sapiarch. But he disappeared from his cell shortly thereafter. I promised Lanarie I would find her son.

Quick walkthroughEdit

  1. Find Lanarie's missing son, Arathel
  2. Talk to Talerion
  3. Take the Map
  4. Find the marked location
  5. (unmarked) Search the maze
  6. Read the scroll
  7. Complete one:
    1. Talk to Talerion
    2. Go to the Anchor's Aweigh Inn [sic] [Do not change this to Anchors Aweigh Inn. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.]

Apraxic route:

  1. Talk to Riharai
  2. Talk to the Hooded Man
  3. Enter the Shimmerene Underground
  4. Follow the rats
  5. Talk to the Mother of Rats
  6. Find Zan'hi
  7. Talk to Zan'hi
  8. Find Arathel
  9. Kill Mirulon
  10. Retrieve the evidence
  11. Talk to Arathel
  12. Escort Arathel to Mother's Den
  13. Give the Evidence to Talerion
  14. Talk to the Mother of Rats

Talerion route:

  1. Talk to Talerion
  2. Enter the Broken Passage to the Underground
  3. Follow the rats
  4. Talk to the Mother of Rats
  5. Find Zan'hi
  6. Talk to Zan'hi
  7. Find Arathel
  8. Kill Mirulon
  9. Retrieve the evidence
  10. Talk to Arathel
  11. Escort Arathel to Mother's Den
  12. Give the Evidence to Talerion
  13. Talk to the Mother of Rats


In order to start the quest, approach Lanarie outside of Kinlady Avinisse's Mansion in northeastern Shimmerene. When spoken to, the following conversation will commence:

Conversation with Lanarie:

"An adventurer? Praise you, Mara, for hearing my prayers! Please, newcomer—I'm desperate for help. My son, Arathel, has gone missing. No one will tell me what happened to him!"

Slow down. Tell me what happened. "Yes, I'm sorry. The last time I saw him, he was agitated. Scared. I asked him what was wrong, but he left without a word. The guards arrived later. They said he turned himself in—that he was involved in a plot to kill our Sapiarch, Aicantar."
You say he turned himself in. He's not in his cell? "No. He vanished! They say he escaped. Can you believe it? Why would he turn himself in only to escape a few hours later? They're hiding something, I know it! Please, ceruval, help me find my boy. He would never hurt anyone, I swear it!"
All right. I'll look for your son. "You have a perfect heart, newcomer. None of my neighbors would lift a finger to help me! The guards placed Arathel in a cell beneath the kinlady's manor. I'm told the Justiciar of Remand is there now—a Mer named Talerion. He must knows something."
Would your son have any reason to kill this Sapiarch, Aicantar? "No! Aicantar treats us like family. Arathel is Aicantar's apprentice, you see? He was so proud when the attestation came through. He has been a bit withdrawn though. I found some aprax literature in his room, but it's just a phase. Right?"
"Aprax?" "Right. You're new to the Isle. I apologize. Apraxic Mer are people who, for whatever reason, were expelled from the greater Elven community. Most aprax labor for years to reenter society. Others choose to remain in exile. I feel very sorry for them."
And these aprax Elves do a lot of writing? "Some do, yes. Treatises on class warfare, religious hypocrisy, that sort of thing. A lot of young Mer take a liking to it. I think it's healthy to push back a bit—not too much, of course, but a bit."
Are there any aprax Elves here in Shimmerene? "Rumor has it that a famous aprax called the Mother of Rats lives in the city, but I've never met her. Even if I did, we're forbidden from speaking with her. That sounds awful, doesn't it? It's just the way things are here, I'm afraid."

Lanarie will direct you toward Talerion in the basement of the mansion opposite from where the quest was started. He can be found in the basement, looking at the "Broken Passage" to the Shimmerene Waterworks. When approached, the following conversation will begin:

Conversation with Talerion:
Kinlady Avinisse's Mansion

Kinlady Avinisse's Mansion.

"This manor is closed by order of the Divine Prosecution, so I will keep this brief. Who are you, and what do you want?"

Arathel's mother sent me to investigate his disappearance. "By Syrabane's ring, will I never be rid of that hen? Look, turning away grieving mothers brings me no satisfaction, but this situation is delicate. The Divine Prosecution does not lose prisoners. Ever. Certainly not frightened children like Arathel."
Then where is he? "Not here, clearly. You really do mean to track him down, don't you? Fine. When we took Arathel into custody he was only carrying a handful of coin, a tin flute, and some kind of crude map."
I could use this map to track him down. Where is it? "Our draftsman drew up a few copies for distribution to the bailiffs. They are stacked upstairs near the hearth. You can take one if you wish, with this condition: if you find something, you will bring it to my attention. Immediately."
Do you have any idea what happened to Arathel? "It seems he escaped into the vaulted halsoriel."
The vaulted halsoriel? "The sewer. Gods, what a hideous word. Anyway, he had help. That gaping hole in the wall is obviously quite new. Might have been a conventional explosion, or some kind of arcane rupture. We won't know until the revelators examine the scene."
Who are you, exactly? "So you would ask my name without offering your own? No, no, don't bother. I've grown to expect these clumsy, troglodytic introductions. I am Talerion, Justiciar of Remand. I oversee all matters related to bonds and incarceration here in Shimmerene."
This must be a little embarassing [sic] [Do not change this to embarrassing. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.]. "Spilling wine on your vest at a dinner party is embarrassing. This is ... frankly, there isn't a word in the common tongue for this. It is graxifalas—disgraceful on a scale you outsiders can't even imagine."
Arathel's mother thinks he's innocent of the charges. What will happen to him if I bring him back? "That's a matter for the High Justiciar and the Sapiarchs. My only concern is returning him to custody. And time is of the essence, so please, be on your way."
Just one more thing—do you have any idea what happened to Arathel? "It seems he escaped into the vaulted halsoriel." (After this response, the dialogue tree will return to the option, "The vaulted halsoriel?" and then, "Who are you, exactly?" after which it will repeat until Talerion's dialogue box is closed.)

"I would appreciate it if you kept this matter to yourself. If word got out that our procedures are imperfect, well ... that would be a very inauspicious day? For everyone."

Head upstairs to the ground floor and enter the room with the door to Kinlady Avinisse's Garden. Arathel's Map may be found on an end table next to a chair sitting in front of the fireplace. When examined in the inventory, the map will have the following description:

Arathel's MapA Tale of Two Mothers Hedge Maze Map

Arathel's Map (left) and where to find the location it points to (right).
A faithful reproduction of Arathel's map. It clearly points to a location in Shimmerene.
A Tale of Two Mothers Hedge Maze

The hedge maze which the map depicts.

The map appears to show an arch with hedges to either side. Past the arch is a statue on a pedestal, and in the very back of the image is a balcony overlooking the area. Buildings extending beyond the top of the map can be seen on either side.

The location the map shows is a secluded hedge maze near the Shimmerene Dockworks. Exit Kinlady Avinisse's Mansion, head down the steps and around the bend, and then bear right at the fork by Orninlusea's performance. Follow the road straight until reaching a branch of the stall The Ruins Bazaar, near the Anchors Aweigh Inn. Then turn right (northeast) and follow the road until reaching the hedge maze. It should be adjacent to a table which Snabugha, Lairiwene, Quorarion, and Elianne Alfena are surrounding.

Undercroft Labyrinth Entrance

The entrance to the Undercroft Labyrinth.

Enter the maze itself and turn right and follow the hedges. After a couple of turns, you will see a scroll lying on the ground. You need to read it. After that you will have two options to continue this quest: either tell Talerion about the contents of the letter or go to Riharai in Anchors Aweigh Inn.

Apraxic route

If spoken to Riaharai, she will send you to talk to the hooded man on the second floor of the Inn. Between Edgar Jend and the Vestige, the following conversation will take place:

Conversation with Edgar Jend:

"I know it doesn't look like it, but I'm working. So ... jog on."

No. I found a dead drop containing this note. It instructed me to meet someone here. "It didn't instruct you to do anything. That note was meant for someone else. Of course, you already know that. So, should I reach for my knife, or are we going to take nice?"
I'm looking for a High Elf named Arathel. His mother asked me to help find him. "Huh. So Talerion and his lackeys haven't found him either, eh? Color me surprised. I tried to help the kid, but if he didn't even find my note .... He's in worse trouble than I thought. You carry yourself well. Maybe Mother could use you."
Mother? "Yeah. The Mother of Rats is our matriarch. She shelters us outcasts and misfits. Loves us, even ... in her way. If you aim to help Arathel, she'll want to meet you first. There's an entrance to the sewers down by the docks. Just follow the rats."
Who are you, anyway? "Name's Edgar Jend. Professional misfit, ne'er-do-well, and sometimes hatchet-man. Mother sends me out to collect lost things—and people. I've got to tell you, this whole Arathel thing ... it's giving me indigestion. I have a delicate constitution."
Why are you even looking for Arathel? "Ah-ah. That's a question for Mother. Speaking of which, you should be on your way."

You will then have to go to the city waterwarks and follow the rat. Eventually, you will get to the Mother's Den sublocation. There you will talk with the Mother of Rats:

Conversation with the Mother of Rats:

"Well, well ... you made it. You'll forgive me if I don't stand to greet you. I have a thing about social niceties. My spies told me you were coming, but neglected to say why. You're the recent arrival to the isle, yes? I'm intrigued. What brings you?"

I'm looking for a High Elf named Arathel. Do you know anything about that? "Ah, Arathel. The reluctant idealist. Yes, I know him a bit. He's a friend of ours. I heard he was in a spot of trouble, so I sent a few of my children to collect him. Unfortunately, he bumbled his way into a prison cell. That was ... ill-advised."
He wasn't in a cell for long. Did you take him? "We had nothing to do with it. That boy has run afoul of some very dangerous people, and they're not about to let him go. Arathel's a valuable commodity down here. He's young, impressionable, and most importantly, he has access to the Sapiarch."
Arathel insisted that he was involved in a plot to kill the Sapiarch when he turned himself in. "Well, he wasn't lying. A rival of mine, Mirulon, swept Arathel away from us. Lured him in with promises of adventure—convinced him that killing a Sapiarch would start a revolution. Of course, they boy got cold feet. Now they have him."
So do you know where they took him? "No. But I know someone who does. I have sent one of my children to keep an eye on Mirulon's operation—a Khajiit named Zan'hi. He'll know where the boy's kept. Explore the tunnels west of here. You'll find Zan'hi. Or more likely, he'll find you."
Who are you, exactly? "I'm the Mother of Rats. You know that already. Are you looking for an autobiography or something? Speak plainly."
I just want to know a little more about the person I'm working with. "That's fair. I guess. I'm what the clods in the kinhouses call apraxic—an Elf criminal. There are other High Elf misfits called ousters, but the fortunes of an apraxic are a little more severe."
What did you do? "I forged a document"
That's all? "Well, the ensuing dispute sent forty-three mer to the funeral pyre. It was a patent of lineage, you see. Kinlords take that sort of thing very seriously. Insufferable. Anyway, they shattered my calian—my praxic talisman—and sent me packing."
Why did you do it? "For the most foolish reason of all—love. Hilarious, right? Anyway. Everyone here knows my past, but they accept me as I am. They even look to me for leadership. As if they need it. Hierarchy's bad joke, cerum. Remember that."
How well do you know Arathel? "Well enough. He's young—which is to say he's bull-headed and self-righteous. Good for a laugh if nothing else. He came looking for a relief from strictness, you know? All these rules and expectations .... They can drive an Elf mad."
Do you think he'd be capable of killing a Sapiarch? "Fifty years of exile have taught me many, many things, but the most important lesson is this—anyone is capable of anything. A snot-based kynd would murder his most beloved dog with a shovel if you gave him a good enough reason."
Do you think Mirulon gave him a good enough reason? "Clearly, he didn't. And I thank the fates for that. Arathel wouldn't make it a week as an aprax. Too much of a people person. It's lucky for us too. If someone killed a Sapiarch, we'd be blamed. Guaranteed. Just another fringe benefit of exile."
What can you tell me about Mirulon and his group? "Mirulon's recent arrival. He's not an aprax or an ouster, but he tries to act the part. I've twisted more arms than I can count trying to find out where he's from, but so far I have very little to show for it. That's why Zan'hi's where he is."
Do you know why he'd want a Sapiarch dead? "Because killing the Sapiarchs will provoke that elusive revolution we're all supposed to be pining for. The Sapiarchs, the Divine Prosectuion, the Ascendants ... they're the masters of the deranged system of the oppression. Who wouldn't want a bit of a pay back?"
Dou you believe in all that? "Of course not! Revolutions are just fairy tails for idiot children. Killing a Sapiarch will do nothing but bring the Divine Prosecution down on our heads. The more I learn about Mirulon, the more I think that might be exactly what he wants."

To help find out where Mirulon helds Arethel, she will tell the Vestige to search for Zan'hi, a Khajiit under command of the Mother of Rats who spies on Mirulon. Zan'hi will be located in the cavern in the southwestern part of the waterworks.

When approached, the following conversation will take place between Zan'hi and Hedani:

Conversation between Zan'hi and Hedani

Hedani: "Zan'hi, you must listen! Mirulon onyl wants what is best for us! He—"
Zan'hi: "He is mad as a sugar-sick frog. Please, Hedani, you must go. If only for a few days."
Hedani: "Will you at least come with me?"
Zan'hi: "I want to, my love. But I still have much to do. Who's this now?"
Hedani: "One of your friends from the Mother's Den? Please, Zan'hi, be quick!"

The Vestige has to talk to him:

Conversation with Zan'hi

"Zan'hi does not wish to fight you, walker, but he will if he must. You will speak your business, yes?"

Wait. I'm a friend of the Mother of Rats. I'm trying to find a High Elf named Arathel. "Hmm. If you were a friend to these Black Wake thugs, you would already know. This one will tell you what he found, but you must act quickly. Mirulon plucked Arathel from his cell and brought him here. He means to bend the boy's mind, I think."
Where can I find Mirulon? "He claimed the caverns ahead, but the way is guarded by more Black Wake warriors ... and worse. This Elf is more than he seems, walker. He is a spellweaver who consorts with Daedra! If you aim to rescue Arathel, you will have to deal with Mirulon."
What did you mean when you said that Mirulon aims to bend Arathel's mind? "Mirulon wields magics that Zan'hi has never seen before—spells that twist good Elves' brains and make them dance to the caster's rhythm. Arathel refused to kill the Sapiarch. But this one thinks, given enough time, Mirulon will make him do it."
What were you and you friend talking about before I arrived? "Hedani was taken in by the Black Wake's lies. The Mother of rats sent me to spy on Mirulon, but in truth I came here to rescue my love. She is ... was, confused. But Zan'hi will take her to safety."
Get her to safety? What do you think is about to happen? "If Mirulon bends the boy, Arathel, and makes him kill the Sapiarch, the Elf-guards will storm this place by the hundreds. Soldiers of the Divine Prosecution do not show Khajiit mercy. Staying here will be a death sentence, you see?"

It is revealed that Mirulon wants to bend Arathel's mind and make him kill the Sapiarch. The Vestige goes deeper into the caverns. When he approaches the Mirulon's chamber, the following conversation takes place between Arathel and Mirulon:

Conversation between Arathel and Mirulon

Arathel: "I won't kill anyone, I told you!"
Mirulon: "The time for protests has passed, child. You will serve us ... whether you want to or not."

After entering the chamber, Mirulon can be seen standing in the centre and Arathel running away.

Mirulon: "So the rat queen sends her vermin to destroy me? Come then."

After the battle, the evidence should be retrieved nearby. Then the Vestige should proceed to the Aquaducts and talk to Arathel.

Conversation with Arathel

"Agh! Don't hurt me! Wait. You're not one of them, are you? Sorry. As soon as I say the opening, I took off running. I didn't even see that drop! Honestly, I'm lucky to be alive ... for the moment, at least. My mother is going to kill me."

Your mother's the one who sent me. I need to get you back to the Mother's Den. "Ugh. That's two mothers that will want my head. All right. I'll follow ... at a distance. I've had enough excitement for one lifetime."
Stay close. You'll be fine.

Arathel will then have to be escorted to the Mother's Den. At the time of the arrival, it is revealed that Talerion has found this location. A small conversation will take place:

Arathel: "Mother!"
Talerion: "Hold there, Arathel! By order of Divine Prosecution!"
Edgar Jend: "Easy, guardsman. This boy is under our protection."
Mother of Rats: "All of you, quiet! Have a word with our mutual friend, Talerion ... if you want the truth that is."

Some of the characters present can also be talked to:

  • "Damn that toad, Talerion! Don't let him take my boy!" – Lanarie
  • "How did Talerion found this place? I guess it doesn't matter. I'll go quietly if I must. Just don't let him hurt the people here." – Arathel
  • "Better get rid of that Talerion quick. My knife-hand's getting twitchy." – Edgar Jend

An evidence should be presented to Talerion:

"So ... it's you. When you didn't return I assumed you had abandoned you search. What are you doing here?"

Arathel's innocent. An evil sorcerer tried to use him to kill the Sapiarch, but the boy refused. "Ah, the oft-used "a wizard made me do it" defense. It's an excuse I've heard before. Many, many times. Do you have a proof, or is this all fanciful conjecture?"
I have proof. I found this among the captor's belongings. "Hmm. It seems this Mirulon played a role in a much wider conspiracy. Troubling. I will take this to my superiors. As for the boy, he can go free. For now. A word of advice: avoid these urchins and apraxics. They are nothing but trouble."

After the evidence of his innocence is presented to Talerion, the Mother of Rats will thank the Vestige for his actions:

Conversation with the Mother of Rats

"So you found our lost sheep. Well done. As you can see, I've sent for Arathel's mother. She won't speak to me of course., but she seems appreciative enough. Perhaps this will be a teachable moment for the both of them. One can hope, I assume."

What will happen to Arathel? "Difficult to say. The fact that he's been fraternizing with apraxics won't reflect well on him. But you at least proved he's not a murderer. That's something, right? You've done far more than rescue a stray High Elf, cerum. Take this, and my thanks."

After the quest conversation:

Talerion: "Take notice, sewer-dwellers. I know where you are. Keep your affairs in order or our next encounter will be far less pleasant."
Lanarie: "Thank you so much for finding Arathel. Bless you!"
Arathel: "I think I might want to be an adventurer too!"
Lanarie: "No. You've had enough adventure for one lifetime."



Journal Entry
A distraught mother named Lanarie cannot find her son, Arathel. The youth surrendered to the authorities—saying he was part of a plot to kill a Sapiarch. But he disappeared from his cell shortly thereafter. I promised Lanarie I would find her son.
I took a faithful copy of Arathel's map. Hopefully it will lead me to another clue.


  • During this quest a unique Rat can be encountered that has 15,000 health.
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