"You look capable. I could use some help, if you aren't afraid of a ruthless, dastardly scoundrel. Let me start again. I represent Cyrodilic Collections, a society dedicated to finding, retrieving, and restoring lost treasures of the Argonians."
"You must be here about the leaflet. I could use the help, as long as you're not afraid of a dastardly scoundrel. Let me start again. I represent Cyrodilic Collections, a society dedicated to retrieving the lost treasures of the Argonians." (If the quest was received from the Crown Store.)
"You look capable. I could use some help, if you aren't afraid of a ruthless, dastardly scoundrel. Let me start again. I represent Cyrodilic Collections, a society dedicated to finding, retrieving, and restoring lost treasures of the Argonians." (If the Vestige talks to Concordia first.)
What kind of help do you need?"Our society consists of me, my sister, and a few associates. We've been preparing an expedition to return the antiquities we've recovered to Murkmire, deep in the heart of Black Marsh. Unfortunately, our competition has become ... aggressive."
The ruthless, dastardly scoundrel you mentioned?"One and the same! Margus Derius. He's a black marketeer who cares only about profit. He was a member of our society until he stole our research and disappeared. I need you to infiltrate the nearby Outlaws Refuge and figure out what Margus is up to."
I'll see what I can learn about Margus Derius."While I've never visited an Outlaws Refuge myself, I have it on good authority that all manner of ne'er-do-wells frequent such places. Scoundrels, black marketeers, and smugglers of ill repute! Just the sort of company that Magrus keeps."
What should I look for in the Outlaws Refuge?"Talk to a few of the more connected rapscallions that conduct business down there. I know a few of them by reputation. Look for Grethaa, an information broker; Urzashi, an antiquities black marketeer; and Eshundir, a historic treasures smuggler."
Tell me more about Margus Derius."Margus originally approached us as a friend and benefactor. I honestly thought he wanted to help return the lost Argonian treasures to their rightful owners. He worked with us for a time, but it wasn't long before he revealed his true colors."
And what did he reveal?"Margus wants the antiquities for himself. This competition has taken a violent turn. He has a brutal temper and some skill at spellcasting. Makes me fearful for my associates. Anyway, I think Margus is especially interested in pre-Duskfall relics."
Duskfall?"Duskfall refers to the slow decline of the great Saxhleel civilization. Ages ago, the Argonians built pyramids called xanmeers and were much more advanced. Most of our research deals with the more dangerous relics of that period."
Cyrodilic Collections is looking for dangerous relics?"No, not specifically. But even a hammer can be used for good or ill. Margus seeks one of the pre-Duskfall relics, I'm sure of it! I just need to figure out which one before something terrible occurs. With your help, we can avert a disaster."
What does Cyrodilic Collections do exactly?"We're historic investigators. We research and seek out antiquities stolen from the Argonian homeland. When we find them, we return them to Black Marsh. Well, that's the plan. We have a few more items to collect before we make our first journey."
You plan to return every item you find?"Certainly the most important ones. We do need to raise enough gold to finance our operations, though. We'll hold on to a few items to eventually open a museum in Black Marsh—a place where these cultural treasures can be enjoyed by everyone."
Why the focus on Argonian antiquities?"My sister Famia became fascinated with Argonian history during her time at the university. When she returned home, her stories intrigued me and I became interested in the topic as well. I can't wait to join her in Murkmire!"
You mentioned an expedition to Murkmire?"As soon as we recover the last of the Argonian antiquities on my list, we'll organize an expedition to that region of Black Marsh. My sister has gone on ahead to set up a base camp and smooth the way with the locals."
So you're really just going to return these items to the Argonians?"We plan to return most items to their rightful owners. We chose Murkmire since our research suggests the majority of the items on our list originate there. Finding the rightful owners may require additional expeditions in the area, though."
Why do you need me to infiltrate the nearby Outlaws Refuge?"I may be new to the Argonian antiquities trade, but Margus and his cronies know me all too well. They'd turn me away or stick a dagger in my back before the door closes behind me! I need someone without any ties to Cyrodilic Collections for this."
And what will you be doing in the meantime?"I have other agents that need to be supervised and coordinated. Margus has already beaten us to a few choice antiquities. I need to make sure that trend doesn't continue. I also have a few leads of my own to follow up on. I'll see you back here."
After getting the information:
"Oh good, you're back. I just returned from my own investigations. I followed a lead, but the trail ran cold. Very disappointing. So tell me what happened in the Outlaws Refuge. Were you able to learn anything new about Margus Derius?"
Margus Derius is working with thugs from Black Marsh called the Blackguards."The Blackguards? My sister's tangled with them in Murkmire. I need to warn Jee-Lar. He's one of our agents. I've got him looking into Margus as well, but you seem to be having more luck. What else did you learn?"
Margus and the Blackguards are looking for powerful Argonian relics. They have a hidden storehouse."That's troubling. If we don't act fast, those antiquities will disappear and the Argonians will lose a little more of their history. If only we knew where this hidden storehouse was located…."
It's in a cave called the Sunless Hollow."You are a wonder, my friend! I know exactly where that cave is. Allow me to mark the location on your map. Are you willing to see this through? I'll rally Jee-Lar, but time is of the essence. Will you go to Sunless Hollow and recover the relics?"
I'll head there immediately."I'll send word to Jee-Lar and get him to meet you at the Sunless Hollow. In the meantime, please be careful. Margus is dangerous, and what my sister has told me about the Blackguards would make your skin crawl!"
After recovering the stolen antiquities:
"Tell me your trip to Sunless Hollow was successful, my friend. I could use a little good news right about now."
I recovered these antiquities from the Sunless Hollow, but there was no sign of Margus Derius."Let me see what you found. Hmm. An Argonian charm necklace. See the amulet? That's a river stone. The Imperial Legion called them swamp coins. And this is a Xal-Toh tablet. That literally translates as sacred secret. Very interesting …."
Are these items significant in some way?"An old legend involves a necklace and a tablet. If I'm right …. Return to the Outlaws Refuge and talk to Eshundir the smuggler. He's an expert on Argonian lore. Ask him what he knows about those relics. Meanwhile, there's a book I need to look at."
I'll go have another talk with Eshundir.
After obtaining the Argonian Nightmare Idol:
"Finally! You don't know how worried I was for you and Jee-Lar! After I heard about the murder in the Outlaws Refuge, all I could imagine was you and my agent lying in a ditch somewhere. I don't suppose you learned more about Margus's plans?"
The black marketeer told me the Xal-Toh tablet revealed the secret of an Argonian nightmare idol."That corresponds with what I was able to determine. And I'm sure it's somehow related to legends of Beela-Kaar. But what happened to you and Jee-Lar after you left the Outlaws Refuge? Were you able to track down Margus?"
No, but a clue led us to the Chid-Moska Ruins. That's where I recovered this nightmare idol."Hmm. What an excellent specimen! But see this opening on the back of the statue? A cavity, but whatever was stored inside it is missing. It looks like Margus Derius continues to remain one step ahead of us, curse his arrogant eyes!"
So what does all this mean? What is Margus Derius actually looking for?"Only one conclusion makes sense. Margus seeks the Golden Skull of Beela-Kaar. Whatever was inside the idol could lead him right to it! A worry for later. Right now, know that Cyrodilic Collections appreciates your help. Take this with our thanks."
"All right, time to get back to work. We need to figure out how to keep Margus Derius from finding the Golden Skull of Beela-Kaar before we do. The survival of Cyrodilic Collections depends upon it, not to mention Murkmire. Maybe all of Black Marsh!"
Tell me more about the Golden Skull of Beela-Kaar. Why is it so important?"Depends on the source, but all the legends indicate that the skull contains powerful magic. Not to mention a curse that could destroy Murkmire. I shudder at the very notion of someone like Margus or the Blackguards getting their hands on it!"
So how do we stop Margus from finding this cursed skull?"We need to follow the trail. Whatever Margus found inside the idol, he's going to need Argonian experts to help him decipher it. Talk to Jee-Lar. He knows a few local Argonians with knowledge of Murkmire. That's who Margus will seek out as well."
I'll talk to Jee-Lar and we'll see what we can uncover."Jee-Lar's down by the water, working on his boat. He should be able to point you to the Argonians most likely to possess the knowledge that Margus needs. Get to them and find out what Margus questioned them about."
I don't understand. Why do I need to find these Argonians?"As much as Margus desires Argonian antiquities, he doesn't really know that much about them. He's going to need help making sense of whatever he found inside the idol. For that, he'll turn to the most knowledgeable Argonians he can find."
Tell me more about the Golden Skull of Beela-Kar."I just read about this in The Legends of Black Marsh. The skull is a fabled relic said to contain the power of the Argonian sorcerer, Beela-Kaar. According to the book, the skull vibrates with arcane energy and carries a terrible curse."
Why would anyone want a cursed skull?"Cyrodilic Collections wants to find the skull so we can return it to Black Marsh. Perhaps to make it the centerpiece of our proposed museum. Margus… I'm beginning to think he wants to utilize its power in some kind of arcane ritual."
What kind of arcane ritual?"Well, it is a cursed skull, and Beela-Kaar practiced the dark arts, so not a particularly good ritual, I imagine. The legend says the curse spells the doom of Murkmire. I don't think we can afford to take any chances with this."
Remind me about you and your organization."Cyrodilic Collections was started by my sister Famia and I. The goal of our society is to find and recover Argonian antiquities that were removed from Black Marsh and return them to the Argonian people."
And what's in it for you?"We have a deep and abiding respect for the Argonian culture. Well, more of a fascination, really. Plus, every success builds our reputation. That's the key."
The key to what?"To fame and fortune! Success garners attention, and attention attracts benefactors. That means more gold to use to equip expeditions and purchase antiquities from collectors. And eventually, it means we'll have enough gold to open our museum!"
Who's Margus Derius again?"Margus Derius was a member of our society who betrayed our trust. He stole our research and used it to beat us to some choice relics. His true goal appears to be the Golden Skull of Beela-Kaar. With the help of the Blackguards, he might just find it."
And who are the Blackguards?"The Blackguards are a deadly gang of thugs from Black Marsh. The gang consists mostly of Argonians and is rumored to have been formed by escapees from Blackrose Prison. They're crude, hateful, and have no regard for the sanctity of history!"
After obtaining the pieces of the map:
Jee-Lar brought me up to speed on what the Argonians revealed to you. He also gave me part of a map. Were you able to find the other two pieces?"
I found these pieces of a map."Let me take a look. I'm pretty good at these sorts of puzzles. This goes here … that goes there … and we have a complete map! Without a place to start, however, this could be anywhere in southern Shadowfen. I wish we had more time."
What's the rush?"Well, according to what the Argonians told you, Margus knows the ritual, knows where to find the meditation cylinders, and knows where the location of the forbidden island. We're running out of time. You need to use this map to find the Blackguards' ship."
One of the Argonians mentioned the ship was moored near Deep Graves."That makes the area you need to search considerably smaller! Find that ship and stop Margus before he completes the ritual that unleashes the curse. I'd really not see Murkmire destroyed, thank you very much!"
"While you and Jee-Lar go after the Blackguards' expedition ship, I'll write to my sister and let her know what we've been facing. If Margus Derius manages to acquire the skull despite our best efforts, at least I'll have warned my sister."
Why do we think Margus Derius wants to find the Golden Skull of Beela-Kaar again?"From what the Argonians told you, Margus wants to perform a ritual that will allow him to acquire the skull, gain its power, and unleash its curse."
And what does the curse do?"According to the legends, the mad Argonian sorcerer was betrayed by his own people. So with his dying breath he imbued his skull with a deadly curse. If that power is ever unleashed, it will destroy all of Murkmire."
Why would Margus Derius want to destroy Murkmire?"He's a terrible person, but I don't know his true motivations. Maybe he thinks he can channel the power for his own purposes. Or maybe he secretly hates the Argonians for some real or imagined wrong. Whatever his reasons, we have to stop him."
After recovering the cursed skull:
"Welcome back, my friend. Were you and Jee-Lar successful? Were you able to stop Margus? And what of the cursed skull? Did you see it? Tell me, is the threat to Murkmire behind us now?"
We found Margus in a xanmeer on the island of Norg-Tzel. The ritual consumed him."That's unfortunate, but the Argonians warned us that the ritual was dangerous. At least Cyrodilic Collections won't have to worry about Margus Derius any more. But you stopped the ritual? Margus wasn't able to release the curse on Murkmire, right?"
I don't think the curse was released, but the ritual did reveal the skull's hiding place."Well, I think we'd know if Beela-Kaar's curse had been unleashed. At the very least, my sister Famia would have sent word. I'm sure she'd notice if Murkmire was destroyed around her. Did you get to see the skull? Is it really made of solid gold?"
Here's the golden skull. You should take it for safekeeping."Good job, my friend! I'll send the skull to my sister in Murkmire. She'll make sure it's safe. If you ever get out that way, Famia would love to meet you. And Cyrodilic Collections can always use your help. For now, take this with my thanks."
"Ah, friend! How good to see you again!" – During a stage of the quest when asked to interview the Argonians
"Jee-Lar's working on his boat again. Said something about wanting to talk to you before bringing me up to the speed on your investigation. I look forward to hearing all about it when the two of you are ready to share." – After interviewing the Argonians
"Remember the name of Cyrodilic Collections! We're going to return Argonian history to Murkmire. You have my promise on that. In the meantime, could you help Jee-Lar? He's having some issues equipping our next expedition." – Immediately after completing "The Cursed Skull"
"Jee-Lar has been tirelessly working on procuring resources for our expeditions into Murkmire. I really don't know what Cyrodilic Collections would do without him! If you would, you might offer him some assistance." – After the re-entering the dialogue window any time later
"My sister Famia needs more supplies for Cyrodilic Collections' operations in Murkmire. If you could spare the time, talk to Jee-Lar. He's coordinating the efforts to equip our next expedition." – After starting the Murkmire questline
"It's so good to see you again, my Friend! And Famia told me all about how vital you've been to the success of her latest expeditions."
"I knew that you and my sister would get along famously!" – After completing the Murkmire questline, if the prologue quest was completed before