Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

The Pursuit is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Karliah upon completion of the previous Thieves Guild quest, "Hard Answers", in which the Dragonborn must infiltrate Mercer Frey's house in Riften to find where he has fled to and what he plans next.


I'm on my way to the Ragged Flagon to meet up with Karliah. Using the information obtained from Gallus' journal as proof, I hope to convince Brynjolf of Karliah's innocence and Mercer Frey's betrayal.



"I need you to break into Mercer's home and search for anything that could tell us where he's gone."

At the beginning of the quest, the Dragonborn must enter the Cistern of the Ratway, however they will find the entrance by the Hall of the Dead Mausoleum locked, making the only point of entrance the Ratway. Karliah will be waiting in the Ragged Flagon. She has Gallus's translated journal ready to show to the guild members, who require convincing. Agreeing to back her up will result in Karliah proceeding into the Cistern. If the City Influence quests have been completed, Garthar and Ravyn Imyan will be guarding the door to the Cistern from the Flagon, but allow Karliah and the Dragonborn through. As expected, Brynjolf, Vex and Delvin Mallory are waiting for Karliah and the Dragonborn with their weapons drawn, as are the other members on the far sides of the Cistern. Karliah hands over Gallus's journal as proof that it was Mercer that had been stealing from the guild. Brynjolf, refusing to believe that Mercer has been stealing from the Guild, orders Delvin to open the vault, which is found empty.

It takes two keys to unlock the vault, leading to Brynjolf's confusion, although Karliah mentions that he did not need a key. Delvin, Brynjolf, and Mercer are the only ones who own the needed keys. Although vindicated, Karliah is just as angered by this as the rest of the Thieves Guild, except perhaps for the seething Vex, who vows to kill Mercer immediately. Brynjolf calms the guild members down and orders Vex to guard the Ragged Flagon along with Delvin. He then asks the Dragonborn what they have learned from Karliah. The Dragonborn needs to explain to him that Mercer killed Gallus, that the three of them were Nightingales and that Karliah was behind Goldenglow and Honningbrew, which was a cunning plan to try and make Mercer look weak in front of Maven Black-Briar.

After that, Brynjolf assigns the Dragonborn to an important task: They are to break into Mercer's house in Riften - Riftweald Manor - and gather any information that may indicate where the traitor has gone. Before leaving Brynjolf, the Dragonborn may ask him what the best way is into Riftweald Manor. If the Dragonborn asks Brynjolf for additional information before leaving, they find out about a watchdog and an exterior ramp with a mechanism to lower it, which could aid in the Dragonborn's escape. Also, asking about the watchdog named Vald will make Brynjolf indicate Vex may have more information to provide.

If the Dragonborn asks Vex about him, she tells them that Vald has a debt and that Vald is only interested in gold, so buying him off is a possibility, but it will not be cheap and Vald might not betray Mercer. Consequently, Vex suggests speaking to Maven Black-Briar about erasing Vald's debt, or running him through with a blade and taking what is needed off his body.

Entering Riftweald Manor[]

When the Dragonborn reaches the Riftweald Manor they may find many entrances into the area: the manor's front door and two gates by the entrance to the Temple of Mara all require a key, or the expert level locked gate behind the manor. Going through the back side of the manor, the optional objective to shoot the ramp mechanism (a dark object underneath the ramp) can be completed using a variety of methods: Unrelenting Force shout, Magelight spell, or by shooting an arrow at it.

Vald patrols this area and will attack the Dragonborn if he sees they have broken in. With a high enough Speech skill (an Amulet of Dibella helps), Mercer's House Key can be obtained by persuading Vald that Mercer needs him in Markath, with a high enough Pickpocket skill, it can be taken from his pocket when he stands with his back against the gate - or it can be gotten by simply killing him. Alternatively, if the Dragonborn has cleared Vald's debt by retrieving the Quill of Gemination for Maven, they can speak to Vald to receive the key. It is important to be outside the gated area when speaking with Vald otherwise he will be hostile. Wait for him to walk up to the gate to talk with him, then he will give the Dragonborn the key and leave Riften.

If a Riften Guard is nearby and spots the Dragonborn, they will approach and ask about the "incident." Although further information cannot be obtained about what incident they are referring to, it seems related to breaking into the manor's secured area. Being close to a guard will cause this dialogue to repeat often, allowing the Dragonborn two options: to say they do not know anything about the incident, or to refuse to answer questions. The first option will satisfy the guard but refusing to cooperate will initiate the arrest dialogue.

Riftweald Manor interior[]

Immediately after entering the manor, the Dragonborn can hear multiple voices. Beyond the next door is a bandit who is looking in the opposite direction. The Dragonborn can either sneak past him to the bedroom or kill him, which will obviously alert the others. Then, they are to go down the stairs and ignore the guard at the other end of the area, and go through a closed set of doors. On the far left of the room there will be a suspicious-looking cabinet, the Dragonborn needs to open it and push the back out to find another set of stairs to go down. Here, a large opening is found, leading into a series of tunnels.

The tunnels[]

It is not difficult to navigate through the tunnels, but one should be wary of a tripwire that activates a series of lethal blades. Upon reaching the doorway, the Dragonborn needs to stand next to it, as when it is opened, poison darts are shot forth. There are two sets of poison arrows: one before Mercer's plans, and the other right after you enter the tunnels. There is a fire trap before the latter. There is a lot of valuable loot in Mercer's room—a hoard of jewels in a bowl, The Red Kitchen Reader, as well as a larceny target of the Bust of the Gray Fox, which after being sold to Delvin Mallory for some septims, becomes a decoration in the Cistern. In addition, Chillrend may be taken from its display case. This unique weapon is one of the most powerful one-handed swords in Skyrim, if the manor is entered once the Dragonborn is at least level 46. With the loot taken, the Dragonborn must make sure to pick up Mercer's Plans.


Continuing on through the last tunnel, the Dragonborn will find themselves at the door to The Ratway Vaults. Following the quest objective marker back to Brynjolf and talking to him completes the quest.


The Pursuit – TG07
ID Journal Entry
10 I'm on my way back to the Ragged Flagon to meet up with Karliah. Using the information obtained from Gallus's journal as proof, I hope to convince Brynjolf of Karliah's innocence and Mercer Frey's betrayal.
  • Objective 10: Meet Karliah at the Ragged Flagon
  • Objective 20: Follow Karliah
30 Brynjolf has been convinced of Karliah's innocence and Mercer's betrayal after investigating the Guild's treasure vault and finding it empty. Of greater mystery is the fact that the vault can only be opened with two keys and is utterly impervious to lockpicking. How Mercer Frey could have breached it is a mystery to us all.
  • Objective 30: Speak to Brynjolf
40 The hunt is on and I'm on my way to Riftweald Manor, Mercer Frey's estate in Riften, to locate a clue as to his current whereabouts.
  • Objective 40: Infiltrate Mercer's House
  • Objective 41: (Optional) Shoot the mechanism to lower the ramp
  • Objective 42: (Optional) Speak to Vex about Vald
  • Objective 50: Discover evidence of Mercer's location
60 I've discovered some plans in Riftweald Manor. This must be where Mercer Frey is headed. I should bring these the Brynjolf as soon as possible.
  • Objective 60: Speak to Brynjolf
200 Brynjolf is convinced Mercer Frey intends to perform one final heist before departing Skyrim for good. According to the plans I discovered in Riftweald Manor, he's after the "Eyes of the Falmer," two gems of enormous value. If we have any hopes of intercepting Mercer, we need to proceed to their location immediately.
  • Quest complete


  • The Quill of Gemination, needed to clear Vald's debt, is located near a sunken boat underwater roughly midway between the Riften docks and the Goldenglow Estate. The easiest way to find it is to swim west from the large docked boat at the docks. The sunken rowboat is almost directly between the Riften boat and the Goldenglow Estate boat.
  • The larceny target for this quest is the Gray Fox Bust, next to Mercer's Plans - the objective for the mission.
  • Chillrend, a unique blue Glass Sword with the unique "Frostfeed" enchantment, is in the room with Mercer's Plans, though its case has an expert level lock. Valuable jewels can be found in the bowl on the desk with the plans.
  • Most of the Thieves Guild members will swear painful revenge on Mercer. For example, Sapphire will say "I dare Mercer to come back here. He sets one foot in the Cistern and I'll cut it off!"
  • If the player has completed three of the four special jobs Delvin gives once enough smaller ones are complete, Garthar will be guarding the door to the Cistern. If the player has completed all four, Ravyn Imyan will be there too.


This section contains bugs related to The Pursuit. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
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  •  360   NX   Occasionally, the quest will fail to start at the end of "Hard Answers." If this occurs, neither Karliah nor Brynjolf can be found anywhere after leaving the inn.
    • The only fix for consoles is to try and reload an earlier save, prior to returning to Enthir or ever receiving the quest to translate the journal.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Sometimes, after talking to Karliah and Enthir at the end of "Hard Answers", Karliah will not leave The Frozen Hearth's basement, making the quest impossible—she will not initiate the correct dialogue, or move to the Ragged Flagon. An easy way to tell if this glitch has happened is to check the map—if the pointer to talk to Karliah is at The Frozen Hearth, she is still there.
    •  PC (Fix:)   Typing following commands into the console: setstage TG07 20, setstage TG07 30. After this, the player needs to find Brynjolf, talk to him, and the quest will proceed as normal.
    • This glitch also affects the Dark Brotherhood's quest when decorating the Dawnstar Sanctuary. Delvin will not talk to the Dragonborn till he "figures things out".
    •  360 (Fix:)   PS3 (Fix:)   Going back to the place where the charcoal rubbing of the Falmer language was made. Then, doing another rubbing will reopen "Hard Answers". After that, the player needs to redo the quest to talk to Karliah and Enthir and make sure that she leaves, then travel to Riften and wait.
  • There exists a similar bug when telling Karliah to wait before confronting the guild. The quest progresses fine up to the point where Karliah is waiting in the main area of the Ragged Flagon, but if this quest is put off for a while and she is told to wait there until the Dragonborn is ready, Karliah may go back to the Frozen Hearth Cellar. This can be fixed by telling her that the Dragonborn is ready (while she is in the basement of the inn), then entering the Ragged Flagon Cistern. Delvin will walk up and start his dialogue as if Karliah is there. This will trigger Karliah to move from the inn, and she will walk to Riften and enter the Cistern after several in-game hours. The quest will resume normally after this.
  • Sometimes Karliah does not give the quest if Mercer's Plans are already in the Dragonborn's inventory.
    • Fix: Dropping the plans before completing "Hard Answers." If the quest is completed, its last stage can be re-started by typing player.setstage TG06 70. Then talking to Karliah to finish "Hard Answers" again this quest is received, and after picking up Mercer's Plans the quest will continue as normal.
    • Fix: Typing player.removeitem 00037ce9 1 into the console to remove Mercer's Plans. Then entering player.additem 00037ce9 1 into the console to add it.
  • There is another similar bug when opening the guild's safe, Karliah will glitch and get stuck before entering the safe.
    • Fix: Hitting Karliah once or twice with a weapon.
  • The blade traps may still give the Dragonborn diseases even if the Dragonborn is a werewolf or a vampire and thus has 100% resistance to disease.
  • Vlad may be hostile on sight, even though no trespassing was done.
    • Fix: Pickpocketing Vlad and putting into his inventory the letter, then talking to him. After that, taking back the letter and talk to him again.
  •  PS3   When picking up the note titled "To The Owner" and then dropping it, the note will be changed into "Shopping List".
  •  PC   When Delvin and Brynjolf are opening the door to the vault, the player can find the door already opened, only for it to be closed and reopened by Vald.
  •  360   While attempting to give Delvin Mallory the amulet in the quest "The Silence Has Been Broken" at the same time in which Karliah should begin talking to the guild, she may inexplicably travel to a random spot halfway between Shor's Stone and Fort Greenwall.
    • Fix: If this happens, attack her a few times, and eventually force her to kneel. After a recuperation period she may get up, and be hostile, then the Dragonborn must either calm her or attack her again. These steps are to be repeated until she is no longer hostile and begins to walk towards Riften. Then, the player must fast travel there and enter the Ragged Flagon through the Ratway as normal. By the time they get there the quest should have updated to "Speak with Brynjolf" (some dialogue will be missed).
      • This bug is denoted by strange quest markers such as: Follow Karliah being the active quest point from the Ragged Flagon through the Ratway Vaults to Riftweald Manor. However, upon exiting to Riften the quest marker should denote her correct location on the world map.