Skyrim: Hard Answers Quest Walkthrough
- Prerequisites To Complete
- Accepting 'Hard Answers'
- Meeting Calcelmo In Markarth
- Inside Calcelmo's Museum
- Leaving Calcelmo's Museum
- Speaking With Enthir
- Rewards For Completing 'Hard Answers'
After completing the 'Speaking With Silence' quest in Skyrim, it's time to begin 'Hard Answers'. During this quest, you will uncover the hidden message within Gallus' journal, and learn the truth about Mercer Frey. This quest will take you to Markarth and Calcelmo's Museum, where many dangers await.
In this guide, we are going to go over everything you need to know about the Hard Answers quest, in addition to the Nightingale Blade, which serves as a reward for the quest. First, let's take a look at all the previous quests you will need to complete before starting Hard Answers. These quests are also part of the Thieves Guild questline, so if you are progressing through the guild's story in order, should be able to start Hard Answers right away.
Prerequisites To Complete
Below, you can find every quest you will need to complete before starting 'Hard Answers'.
|Quest Name||NPC To Speak With|
|A Chance Arrangement||Brynjolf
|Taking Care of Business||Brynjolf
|Loud and Clear||Brynjolf
|Dampening Spirits||Maven Black-Briar
|Scoundrel's Folly||Mercer Frey
|Speaking With Silence||Mercer Frey
Accepting 'Hard Answers'
After completing 'Speaking With Silence', you will automatically be given the 'Hard Answers' quest when speaking with Karliah. At this point, you will be outside of the Snow Veil Sanctum, located to the southeast of Winterhold.
Upon receiving this quest, you will be instructed to speak with Enthir, who can be found in the following locations within Winterhold.
- The Frozen Hearth
- College of Winterhold
Once you find Enthir, show him Gallus' journal; Enthir will tell you the journal is written in Falmer and needs to be translated. You will then be instructed to travel to Calcelmo in Markarth.
Meeting Calcelmo In Markarth
Markarth is a city found on the western edge of Skyrim. You can find Calcelmo at Understone Keep, where Jarl Igmund resides. Calcelmo holds the key to the museum that you need to enter, but he refuses to give you the key. To get this key, you will either need to use persuasion, bribery, or intimidation. With one of these methods, Calcelmo will hand the key over.
Other Methods Of Obtaining The Key
In addition to the methods listed above to retrieve the key, you can also complete the following two sidequests.
- The Book Of Love
- Nimhe, The Poisoned One
You can also steal the key off a table near Calcelmo. If you successfully obtain the key this way, guards will become hostile.
Lastly, Calcelmo's Museum can also be broken into, allowing you to skip the chat with him. Be cautious though; if you break into the museum, you will need to avoid being caught by the guards.
Inside Calcelmo's Museum
Now that you have the key, it's time to enter the museum. Guards will be nearby, but if you legally obtained the key, you can ignore them.
|Note: Guards in the main part of the museum will remain passive, but any guard within the laboratory is hostile.|
Enter into the museum and head to Calcelmo's Laboratory. There will be hostile personal mercenaries of Calcelmo in the laboratory; defeat these enemies and proceed further inside the lab.
Inside, you will find a table with a Spider Control Rod nearby. This rod controls a mechanical spider that will help you defeat guards in the laboratory. Alternatively, you can sneak by all the guards and continue to the back of the laboratory.
The laboratory will contain several valves that, when turned, activate traps. Use these valves to your advantage and set off traps to distract nearby guards if you want to avoid fighting them. Activating the valves is completely optional; there is no right way to go through this area, so just do what feels easiest to you. With enough brute strength, you can plow through all the guards that stand in your way.
Once you reach the back, proceed through the next corridor. Here, you will encounter highly poisonous gas that will quickly drain your health. Run through the hall as quickly as you can and step on the button that disables the poison.
|Tip: The Become Ethereal shout will nullify any damage, but you may alert nearby hostile guards while performing the shout.|
The corridor will lead to the end of the laboratory, where you can find Aicantar, (Calcelmo's nephew) in his study. You have a few options at this point, which are listed below.
- Sneak past Aicantar and his guards.
- Kill Aicantar and his guards.
- Activate the nearby trap, causing the guards to die and Aicantar to flee.
Inside Aicantar's study, you will also find the Dwemer Puzzle Cube, which can be sold to Delvin for The Litany of Larceny quest. Grab this cube before heading to the balcony.
From the balcony, head up Calcelmo's Tower, enter, and proceed into a room on the left side. Here, you will find charcoal and a roll of paper, allowing you to create a copy of Calcelmo's Stone, which is a Falmer translation guide.
Now, you just need to return back to Enthir.
Leaving Calcelmo's Museum
To leave the area, you can either jump from the tower or head back through the museum. If you choose to jump, be careful; one wrong step can lead to instant death. This is the quickest way to leave the museum, but it comes at the risk of dying.
If you chose to kill Aicanter earlier, the coast will be clear and you can leave. If you didn't kill him, he will appear in the tower with guards at his side. To deal with this, you can approach and kill the group, or keep at a distance and sneak out.
After avoiding guards and leaving the museum, head back to Enthir in Winterhold.
Speaking With Enthir
Enthir can be found in the cellar of the Frozen Heart, speaking with Karliah. Approach the pair, handing over the copy of Calcelmo's Stone, and listen as Enthir translates Gallus' journal. From this, you will learn about the true intentions of Mercer, and his betrayal of the Thieves Guild.
In addition to killing Gallus, Mercer Frey defiled the Twilight Sepulcher, a sacred temple build in honor of Nocturnal, the patron of thieves. With this information, Karliah will instruct you to return to the Ragged Flagon, speaking with both her and Brynjolf.
Rewards For Completing 'Hard Answers'
Upon completion, Karliah will reward you with the Nightingale Blade. This is a powerful sword with absorbing enchantments. Below, you can check out the stats of the Nightingale Blade depending on your current level.
|Personal Current Level||Nightingale Blade Stats|
|1-18||Absorb 5 health and stamina|
|19-26||Absorb 10 health and stamina|
|27-35||Absorb 15 health and stamina|
|36-45||Absorb 20 health and stamina|
|46+||Absorb 25 health and stamina|
Now that 'Hard Answers' is complete, it's time to head to the Ragged Flagon in Rifen and start the next quest, titled 'The Pursuit'.
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