Background[edit | edit source]
Karliah was trained in the art of thievery by her mother, Dralsi Indoril, and is the granddaughter of Queen Barenziah, as well as Drayven Indoril, who is rumored to be a descendant of the Dunmer saint Indoril Nerevar. She was a member of the Thieves Guild and the Nightingales along with Gallus Desidenius and Mercer Frey. She was also involved romantically with Gallus Desidenius, who called her his "Little Nightingale." She also stated that she owes her skills to Gallus saying "He honed my skill to a razor sharp point." Karliah was exiled from the guild for 25 years after Mercer framed her for Gallus' murder.
Physical appearance[edit | edit source]
Karliah is the only Dunmer in the game whose eyes are violet. Her armor is a lighter shade of gray than the Guild Master's Armor Set and has the same brown-colored straps and satchels of the Thieves Guild Armor. Parts of it can appear purplish in some light, and it also appears to have a unique dagger strapped to the left shoulder, though it is for aesthetic purposes.
Interactions[edit | edit source]
Once Mercer picks the dragon claw door, the Dragonborn walks in first. Karliah shoots the Dragonborn with a poisoned arrow, and the Dragonborn passes out soon after. Awakening again, their vision is blurry, and Mercer and Karliah are heard talking. From their dialogue, it is learned that Mercer is guilty of committing many crimes against the guild. Karliah escapes and Mercer notices the Dragonborn is still alive.
He stabs the Dragonborn, attempting to kill them, but because of the poison on Karliah's arrow, made to slow the victim's heartbeat and stop them from bleeding out, they survive. Karliah then takes them back to her camp outside the Sanctum to nurse them back to health. After the Dragonborn regains their strength, Karliah sends them to Winterhold to figure out how to decode Gallus's Encoded Journal.
The Dragonborn is sent to Calcelmo by Enthir to duplicate the writings on Calcelmo's stone, in Calcelmo's Tower. He will not let them in, so the Dragonborn has to gain entry to the museum in another way. Once the translation is acquired, Karliah will be present at the Frozen Hearth inn with Enthir who will translate the passages, confirming that Mercer not only stole vast amounts of gold from the Guild but desecrated something called the "Twilight Sepulcher." Karliah will express utter shock at this but cannot elaborate just yet. With the evidence in hand, Karliah asks the Dragonborn to meet her in The Ragged Flagon to confront Mercer and reveal the truth to the guild, awarding them with an item which once belonged to Gallus: a Nightingale Blade.
The Dragonborn meets Karliah and faces the guild with her. Karliah hands over Gallus' journal as proof of her innocence and joins Brynjolf and the others as the vault is opened to reveal that Mercer robbed it dry. Though this vindicates her, she is just as angry as the rest of them and refers the Dragonborn to Brynjolf, who asks them to find evidence of Mercer Frey's whereabouts and will have to infiltrate his house to get his plans.
The Dragonborn learns about the Nightingales and is taken to the Nightingale Hall by Karliah and Brynjolf to become a Nightingale. She wants them to be prepared for the task of killing Mercer Frey for his betrayal.
Karliah and Brynjolf have traveled to Irkngthand in their pursuit of Mercer Frey. They want the Dragonborn to meet them there. Inside they need to locate and eliminate Mercer and take the Skeleton Key he has stolen from Nocturnal.
The Dragonborn must return the Skeleton Key, and in order to do so, they have to follow the Pilgrim's Path inside the Twilight Sepulcher. After this is done, The Dragonborn can go back to the cave and choose a power each day.
Equipment[edit | edit source]
Dialogue[edit | edit source]
|Show: Speaking With Silence|
|Outside Snow Veil Sanctum:
"Easy, easy. Don't get up so quickly. How are you feeling?"
|Show: Hard Answers|
|Outside Snow Veil Sanctum:
"Please, there isn't much time. What is it?"
"Remember, speak only to Enthir. Trust no one else."
Upon returning to Karliah after speaking with Enthir:
"We must hasten to Riften before Mercer can do any more damage to the Guild."
|Show: The Pursuit|
|Inside The Ragged Flagon:
"I'm glad you're here. I think some of these people are beginning to suspect who I am. Are you ready to face the Guild?"
After checking on the vault:
How could Mercer have gotten into the Vault? "All I can tell you for now is that he's abused his authority as a Nightingale."
|Show: Trinity Restored|
|Outside Nightingale Hall:
"I'm glad you're here."
After equipping the Nightingale Armor:
"What about you? Are you ready to transact the Oath with Nocturnal?"
After becoming a Nightingale:
"Now that you've transacted the Oath, it's time to reveal the final piece of the puzzle to you; Mercer's true crime."
|Inside Nightingale Hall:
I don't feel stronger. "With the Skeleton Key missing from the Twilight Sepulcher, I'm afraid Mercer's seen to it that none of us can benefit from Nocturnal's gifts."
"Mercer's been here, I hope we aren't too late."
If approached again:
"This place, it's like a maze. How did the dwarves find their way around?"
After defeating Mercer:
"I can't believe it's over. Twenty-five years in exile and just like that, it's done. All that remains is to ensure the safe return of the Skeleton Key."
|Show: Darkness Returns|
|Inside Bronze Water Cave:
"Yes, fellow Nightingale?"
After returning the Skeleton Key to the Ebonmere:
"I'm glad you were able to bring the Key back safely. Nocturnal seemed quite pleased with your efforts."
"Choose your path and your journey will be complete."
After Karliah's conversation with Gallus:
"Yes, Nightingale, what is it?"
"Farewell. Eyes open and walk with the shadows."
|Show: Under New Management|
|Inside The Ragged Flagon - Cistern:
"I can't think of a better person for the job, Nightingale."
"It was good speaking with you again."
Conversations[edit | edit source]
- Speaking With Silence
Mercer Frey: "Do you honestly think your arrow will reach me before my blade finds your heart?"
Karliah: "Give me a reason to try."
Mercer Frey: "You're a clever girl, Karliah. Buying Goldenglow Estate and funding Honningbrew Meadery was inspired."
Karliah: ""To ensure an enemy's defeat, you must first undermine his allies." It was the first lesson Gallus taught us."
Mercer Frey: "You always were a quick study."
Karliah: "Not quick enough, otherwise Gallus would still be alive."
Mercer Frey: "Gallus had his wealth and he had you. All he had to do was look the other way."
Karliah: "Did you forget your oath we took as Nightingales? Did you expect him to simply ignore your methods?"
Mercer Frey: "Enough of all this mindless banter! Come on, Karliah. It's time for you and Gallus to become reunited!"
Karliah: "I'm no fool, Mercer. Crossing blades with you would be a death sentence. But I can promise the next time we meet, it will be your undoing."
- Hard Answers
Enthir: "Hmm. This is intriguing, but highly disturbing. It appears that Gallus had suspicions about Mercer Frey's allegiance to the Guild for months. Gallus had begun to uncover what he calls an "... unduly lavish lifestyle replete with spending vast amounts of gold on personal pleasures.""
Karliah: "Does the journal say where this wealth came from?"
Enthir: "Yes. Gallus seems certain that Mercer had been removing funds from the Guild's treasury without anyone's knowledge."
Karliah: "Anything else, Enthir? Anything about... the Nightingales?"
Enthir: "Hmm. Yes, here it is. The last few pages seem to describe "the failure of the Nightingales" although it doesn't go into great detail. Gallus also repeatedly mentions his strong belief that Mercer desecrated something known as the Twilight Sepulcher."
Karliah: "Shadows preserve us. So it's true..."
Enthir: "I'm not familiar with the Twilight Sepulcher. What is it? What's Mercer Frey done?"
Karliah: "I'm sorry Enthir, I can't say. All that matters is we deliver your translation to the Guild immediately. Farewell, Enthir... words can't express..."
Enthir: "It's alright Karliah. You don't have to say a word."
- The Pursuit
Brynjolf: "You better have a damn good reason to be here with that murderer."
Karliah: "Please, lower your weapons so we can speak. I have proof that you've all been misled!"
Brynjolf: "No tricks, Karliah or I'll cut you down where you stand. Now what's this so-called proof you speak of?"
Karliah: "I have Gallus' journal. I think you'll find its contents disturbing."
Brynjolf: "Let me see. No, it... it can't be. This can't be true. I've known Mercer too long..."
Karliah: "It's true, Brynjolf. Every word. Mercer's been stealing from the Guild for years, right under your noses."
Brynjolf: "There's only one way to find out if what the lass says is true. Delvin, I'll need you to open the Vault."
Delvin: "Wait just a blessed moment, Bryn. What's in that book? What did it say?"
Brynjolf: "It says Mercer's been stealing from our vault for years. Gallus was looking into it before he was murdered."
Delvin: "How can Mercer open up a vault that needs two keys? It's impossible. Could he pick his way in?"
Vex: "That door has the best puzzle locks money can buy. There's no way it can be picked open."
Karliah: "He didn't need to pick the lock."
Delvin: "What's she on about?"
Brynjolf: "Use your key on the vault, Delvin. We'll open it up and find out the truth."
Delvin: "I've used my key, but the vault's still locked up tighter than a drum. Now use yours."
Brynjolf: "By the Eight! It's gone, everything's gone! Get in here, all of you!"
Delvin: "The gold, the jewels... it's all gone."
Vex: "That son-of-a-bitch! I'll kill him!"
Brynjolf: "Vex! Put it away... right now. We can't afford to lose our heads... we need to calm down and focus."
Delvin: "Do what he says, Vex. This isn't helpin' right now."
Vex: "Fine. We do it your way. For now."
Brynjolf: "Delvin, Vex... watch the Flagon. If you see Mercer, come tell me right away."
- Trinity Restored
Karliah: "Brynjolf, the time has come to decide Mercer's fate. Until a new Guild Master is chosen, the decision falls to you."
Brynjolf: "Aye, lass... and I've come to a decision. Mercer Frey tried to kill both of you, he betrayed the Guild, murdered Gallus and made us question our future. He needs to die."
Karliah: "We have to be very careful, Brynjolf. Mercer is a Nightingale, an Agent of Nocturnal."
Brynjolf: "Then it's all true... everything I heard in the stories. The Nightingales, their allegiance to Nocturnal and the Twilight Sepulcher."
Karliah: "Yes. That's why we need to prepare ourselves and meet Mercer on equal footing. Just outside of Riften, beyond the Southeast Gate is a small path cut up the mountainside. At the end of that path is a clearing and an old standing stone. I'd ask you both meet me there."
Brynjolf: "So, this is Nightingale Hall. I heard about this place when I joined the Guild, but I never believed it existed."
Karliah: "The assumption that the Nightingales were just a myth was seeded within the Guild on purpose. It helped avert attention from our true nature. What's wrong, Brynjolf? I can almost hear your brow furrowing."
Brynjolf: "I'm trying to understand why I'm here, lass. I'm no priest, and I'm certainly not religious. Why pick me?"
Karliah: "This isn't about religion, Brynjolf... it's business. This is Nightingale Hall. You're the first of the uninitiated to set foot inside in over a century. Now, if you'll both proceed to the armory to don your Nightingale Armor, we can begin the Oath."
Brynjolf: "Okay, lass. We've got these getups on... now what?"
Karliah: "Beyond this gate is the first step in becoming a Nightingale."
Brynjolf: "Woah there, lass. I appreciate the armor, but becoming a Nightingale? That was never discussed."
Karliah: "To hold any hope of defeating Mercer, we must have Nocturnal at our backs. If she's to accept you as one of her own, an arrangement must be struck."
Brynjolf: "What sort of arrangement? I need to know the terms."
Karliah: "The terms are quite simple, Brynjolf. Nocturnal will allow you to become a Nightingale and use your abilities for whatever you wish. And in return, both in life and in death, you must serve as a guardian of the Twilight Sepulcher."
Brynjolf: "Aye, there's always a catch. But at this point, I suppose there isn't much to lose. If it means the end of Mercer Frey, you can count me in."
Karliah: "I call upon you Lady Nocturnal, Queen of Murk and Empress of Shadow... hear my voice!"
Nocturnal: "Ah, Karliah. I was wondering when I'd hear from you again. Lose something did we?"
Karliah: "My Lady, I've come before you to throw myself upon your mercy and to accept responsibility for my failure."
Nocturnal: "You're already mine, Karliah. Your terms were struck long ago. What could you possibly offer me now?"
Karliah: "I have two others that wish to transact the Oath; to serve you both in life and in death."
Nocturnal: "You surprise me, Karliah. This offer is definitely weighted in my favor."
Karliah: "My appetite for Mercer's demise exceeds my craving for wealth, Your Grace."
Nocturnal: "Revenge? How interesting... Very well, the conditions are acceptable. You may proceed."
Karliah: "Lady Nocturnal, we accept your terms. We dedicate ourselves to you as both your avengers and your sentinels. We will honor our agreement in this life and the next until your conditions have been met."
Nocturnal: "Very well. I name your initiates Nightingale and I restore your status to the same, Karliah. And in the future, I'd suggest you refrain from disappointing me again."
Karliah: "Wait a moment... what's that? It's Mercer! Look... down there!"
Brynjolf: "I'm on it, lass. Damn it! There's no way through."
Karliah: "He's toying with us. He wants us to follow."
Brynjolf: "Aye, lass... and we'll be ready for him. Let's keep moving."
Brynjolf: "Look at the size of this place. Have you ever seen anything like it in your life, lass?"
Karliah: "Can't say that I have. Imagine the riches hidden within these walls."
Brynjolf: "So this is what we heard. The entire tower collapsed."
Karliah: "The only reason to do that would be to block pursuit. It must be Mercer. We'll have to find another way around."
Brynjolf: "Mercer was able to knock this thing down? Gods..."
Karliah: "It's the Key, Brynjolf. In his hands, there's no telling what he's capable of."
Karliah: "Mercer must have triggered these pistons. We're going to have to search for a way to open them."
Brynjolf: "I'll bet my last septim that there's a mechanism around here somewhere."
Brynjolf: "Shor's Bones! Look at that monstrosity."
Karliah: "It's a Dwarven Centurion. Very tough and very deadly."
Brynjolf: "We can take the beast on or sneak around. It's your call, . We're right behind you."
Brynjolf: "The stench... this place reeks of Falmer."
Karliah: "This must be their hive. We'll have to keep silent if we want to avoid drawing their attention."
Karliah: "There's a mass of the Falmer in this chamber. We can sneak through or take them down... I don't care. As long as we get to Mercer."
Brynjolf: "Aye. Whatever want to do, we're with you."
Karliah: "He's close. I'm certain of it. We must prepare ourselves."
Brynjolf: "Then this is it. We do this for Gallus and for the Guild."
Karliah: "He's here and he hasn't seen us yet. Brynjolf, watch the door."
Brynjolf: "Aye, lass. Nothing's getting by me."
Karliah: "Climb down that ledge and see if you can..."
Mercer: "Karliah, when will you learn you can't get the drop on me?"
Mercer: "Karliah, I'll deal with you after I rid myself of your irksome companions. In the meantime, perhaps you and Brynjolf should get better acquainted."
Brynjolf: "What's... what's happening... I can't stop myself."
Karliah: "Damn you, Mercer! Fight it, Brynjolf... he's taken control of you!"
Brynjolf: "I'm sorry lass, I... I can't..."
Karliah: "Damn! This place is coming down! Quick, get the Skeleton Key and the Eye and lets get out of here!"
Brynjolf: "No luck there, lass. Something must have fallen on the other side of the door because it isn't moving!"
Karliah: "We have to find another way out of here before the place fills with water!"
- Under New Management
Brynjolf: "Look, I've never been good at these things, so I'm just going to keep it short. Being Guild Master means more than just getting a cut of all the loot, it's about being a leader and keeping this rabble in order. With that in mind, I propose that the position of Guild Master should be Delvin?"
Vex: "Sure, why not."
Brynjolf: "Everyone is in agreement, so all I can do now is name Guild Master and wish you good fortune and long life. Now everyone get back to work."
- Darkness Returns
Karliah: "Gallus! I feared I would never see you again. I was afraid you'd become like the others."
Gallus: "If it were not for the actions of , your fears would have come true. honors us all."
Karliah: "What will you do now, my love?"
Gallus: "Nocturnal calls me to the Evergloam. My contract has been fulfilled."
Karliah: "Will I ever see you again?"
Gallus: "When your debt to Nocturnal has been paid, we'll embrace once again."
Karliah: "Farewell, Gallus. Eyes open... walk with the shadows."
Gallus: "Goodbye, Karliah."
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- "This is where we saw Mercer. We must be getting close." — During "Blindsighted"
- "Even the Falmer don't deserve the pain these implements must have inflicted. The dwarves were a cruel race." — During "Blindsighted"
- "Falmer patrol up ahead. I don't think they know we're here." — During "Blindsighted"
- "I can hear water rushing through these pipes. We must be beneath a lake." — During "Blindsighted"
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- When Karliah appears to teleport or disappear in her confrontation with Mercer, she actually drinks an invisibility potion. It is possible to witness her disguised form leaving.
- Karliah was voiced by Moira Quirk.
- Her armor has a dagger strapped on next to the left shoulder.
- Unlike other Guild members, Karliah does not wear matching Thieves Guild gloves or boots. She instead uses unarmored boots and gloves.
- When asked about the Pilgrim's Path, she says, "It was said they would live forever in twilight," although the subtitles say, "They would become one with the shadows."
- During the quest "Speaking With Silence," if the Dragonborn uses the shout Aura Whisper she will not be detected by the shout like other NPCs are.
- Karliah has unique eyes, while Avrusa Sarethi and her sister Aduri Sarethi are blind. They are the only Dunmer seen in the game that do not possess their race's signature red eyes. (This potentially excludes the Dragonborn.)