Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"Make your choice. Make your kill. I just want to observe... and admire."

With Friends Like These... is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After the quest "Innocence Lost" has been completed, a courier will appear and give the Dragonborn a note with the imprint of a black hand and the words "We Know" written beneath it. The courier generally takes between one and three days to arrive, depending on whether the Dragonborn sleeps or if they are close to a town or a settlement.


Astrid, of the Dark Brotherhood, informed me that by killing Grelod the Kind, I have robbed her organization of a kill. I have been taken captive and moved to some remote shack. Astrid will only give me the key if I kill someone she has taken captive, to "repay my debt."


  1. Kill one of the captives
  2. Speak with Astrid
  3. Enter the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary
  4. Speak with Astrid


There are two ways to complete this quest, the first is to follow the orders given by Astrid, the assassin. The second, to defeat her.

The Mysterious Note[]

The quest typically begins after the Dragonborn has received the Mysterious Note from the courier and sleeps in a bed, however, sleeping in a bed even before receiving the note may trigger it.

Meeting Astrid[]

The three prisoners.

The Dragonborn will awake in an abandoned shack, located in the marshes north of Morthal. A Dark Brotherhood assassin named Astrid will speak to them. She reveals that the Dark Brotherhood is aware of their murderous deed and is pleased that Grelod is dead, but since the Aretino child performed the Black Sacrament, they demand that a debt be paid for the kill that was stolen from them. Astrid has brought three other people to the shack where the Dragonborn awoke. Fultheim the Fearless, Alea Quintus, and Vasha are tied up and wearing execution hoods, but are able to answer questions. Astrid tells the Dragonborn that there is a contract out on one of their lives, and the Dragonborn must figure out whom to kill.

Joining the Dark Brotherhood[]

Killing any one of them, or any two, or all of them; will please Astrid, who will unlock the shack, and direct the Dragonborn to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.

The Dragonborn must now go to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary near Falkreath, where speaking with Astrid completes the quest, and the next quest, "Sanctuary," begins.

To enter the sanctuary, one needs to speak to the Black Door:

"What is the music of life?"

Silence, my brother. "Welcome home."
Um... the lute? No, drums! "You are not worthy."
Screaming? "You are not worthy."
Some kind of choir. With chanting. "You are not worthy."

Note that entering the sanctuary before starting Delayed Burial will fail that quest.

Killing Astrid[]

Note: Following this objective will prevent any further progress in the Dark Brotherhood quest line.

Alternatively, choosing to kill Astrid will fail "With Friends Like These..." and begin a new quest, "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!", now the next objective is to report the events to a guard. To open the locked door, the key to the shack must be looted from Astrid. It is also possible, before leaving, to untie and free all the captives. However, they can also be killed and the player will not be charged with murder.


Each kill or combination of kills evokes a different response from Astrid upon speaking to her afterwards.

Quote Condition
"The conniving Khajiit. Cat like that was sure to have enemies. It's no wonder you chose him." Killing Vasha
"Ah, the feisty goodwife. Quite the mouth on her. Someone must have wanted her dead... right?" Killing Alea
"Oh ho. The whimpering Nord, eh? Yes, yes, I can see how you'd come to that conclusion. Interesting choice." Killing Fultheim
"Hmm. The fearless wife and mother, and the underhanded Khajiit. Had to be one of them, right? Interesting choice." Killing Vasha and Alea
"The timid warrior and the sly Khajiit. Must have been one of them, right?" Killing Vasha and Fultheim
"The blubbering barbarian and the tenacious mother. Must have been one of them, right?" Killing Alea and Fultheim
"Well, well. Aren't we the overachiever. Three possibilities, three victims. Must have been one of them, right? So why take chances..." Killing all three
"...Well....done." Killing Astrid


If the Dragonborn follows Astrid's instructions
  • Admission into Dark Brotherhood
  • A complete set of Shrouded Armor (offered by Astrid)
If Astrid was killed


With Friends Like These... – DB02
ID Journal Entry
10 Astrid, of the Dark Brotherhood, informed me that by killing Grelod the Kind, I have robbed her organization of a kill. I have been taken captive and moved to some remote shack. Astrid will only give me the key if I kill someone she has taken captive, to "repay my debt."
  • Objective 10: Kill one of the captives
  • Objective 30: Speak with Astrid
40 I have killed one of the captives as Astrid instructed, and must now gain entrance to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, which is located in the southern Pine Forest. Astrid has provided me with the correct passphrase - "Silence, my Brother."
  • Objective 40: Enter the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary
  • Objective 50: Speak with Astrid
200 I have killed an innocent person, gained entrance into the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, and been officially welcomed into the Dark Brotherhood by Astrid. There's no turning back now.
  • Quest complete
220 Astrid invited me into the Dark Brotherhood, but I killed her instead. I will now never be able to join the shadowy organization of assassins.
  • Quest failed


  • Clairvoyance will always reveal a target selected by random, the first time the magic is cast.
  • The execution hoods, like other clothing, can be pickpocketed. They will reappear after reentering the cabin if any captive is still alive.
  • Viewing the world map will place the Dragonborn's marker wherever they slept before waking up in the shack. Upon leaving the shack, the map location displays correctly.
  • Attempting to fast travel from inside or outside the cabin will bring up a message that there are enemies nearby.
  • The abandoned shack is the only place where the Dragonborn can find the black execution hoods, barring the use of console commands.
  • Any follower will not be present inside the shack, but will reappear immediately upon leaving the shack.
  • If the Dragonborn uses the Wabbajack to turn a hostage into an animal or into any other form, it will count as killing them, even before the effect wears off. When the effect does wear off, the victim will be dead.
  • The Abandoned Shack cannot be left without killing at least one of the three prisoners or Astrid.
  • Even if the Dragonborn frees them, the captives do not leave the Abandoned Shack.
  • If the Dragonborn casts Reanimate Corpse on a captive they killed, the captive will follow them inside the shack but when leaving the shack the captive will disappear almost instantly.
  • If one or two of the captives are killed, it is possible to talk to Astrid and hear one of the responses above. Exit the conversation without selecting any dialog choices, kill another captive and Astrid will give a different response. Without loading a save, up to three different responses can be heard this way.


This section contains bugs related to With Friends Like These.... 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.
  • If the Dragonborn kills one of the victims and raises them as a zombie, Astrid will become unavailable for conversation, barring progress in the quest. The only way to exit the shack then is to kill Astrid. (Killing another victim and not raising them does not fix this.)
  • Sometimes it can take several days to receive the courier's letter.
    • If the courier still does not appear, try fast traveling to a different hold and waiting.
  • Taking the hoods off the victims will affect their ability to see the Dragonborn, but will not influence their dialogue or attitude (i.e. they will still speak in the same muffled manner and refer to being unable to see).
  • After killing Astrid, if the Dragonborn speaks with any of the prisoners but exits the dialogue without freeing them, they will respond with unmuffled voices, even though they are still hooded.
  • Killing a prisoner and leaving the shack before completing the quest will cause Astrid to teleport back to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.
  • Sometimes upon waking up in the shack, the blur effect will not trigger and Astrid will start talking normally.
  • Sometimes after waking up, the Dragonborn will be unable to move after the conversation with Astrid. Reloading from a previous save does not fix this. Using the Wait command may fix the problem.
  • If Astrid does not start talking when you wake up, it might be because one of the prisoners died when it spawned in. Waiting does nothing, but console commands to complete the "talking" part will allow you to continue the quest. Alternatively, figure out which prisoner died, load to an earlier save and use the console to set them as essential. After the conversation with Astrid, set them back to non essential.
  •  PC   Using the console to unlock the Abandoned Shack early and killing Astrid will prevent any quests related to the Dark Brotherhood from being completed.
  • After receiving the note from the courier, sleeping may cause the game to freeze.