Thieves Guild: Taking Care of Lex

Once you have fenced 500 gold worth of loot, you'll get a new journal entry telling you to go check in with S'krivva. Her mission is to eliminate Hieronymus Lex once and for all (no not that way). You're going to see that he gets transferred to Anvil as the Countess' guard captain. The Gray Fox has an interest in seeing that the Countess is well-protected and whatever Lex's other shortcomings may be, he is almost fanatically loyal. So the goal seems to be to turn that fanaticism toward more constructive (from the Guild's view) outlets.

If you have been in Anvil on other occasions, you'll probably have picked up on the fact that the Countess Millona Umbranox's husband disappeared about 10 years ago and she shows no desire to remarry. She has been ruling the County on her own ever since. She is generally well-liked by the people in and around Anvil, so I guess she hasn't mucked it up too badly. If you have spent any time in the Countess' audience room you may have also run into a fellow who goes by the name of "A Stranger" (but you can call me "THE Stranger) and seems to spend all of his free time there. He's got a somewhat different take on the Gray Fox than other NPCs and feels sorry for him most of the time. If he's not in the Great Hall, you'll find him in the Abandoned House next door to the Mages Guild. He's not too chatty while he's there, though.

The plan is for you to steal a list of candates for the position from Dairihill, the Countess' steward. Then you're to find a forger to create a new list with Lex at the top of the list. Then you'll need to seal it with the Imperial Legion commander's seal, which is in his office in the Imperial Prison. Finally, you'll need to personally deliver the letter to the Countess (Dairihill is not to be trusted) and give Lex his marching orders.

The first stage is simple enough. Go hit up one of the beggars in Anvil. They'll give you some freebie info: they don't know anything about the inside of the palace, but you should seek out the blacksmith (who turns out to be Orrin, your next fence). So do just that. Orrin should come meet you shortly after you enter the castle. If not, just hang a right when you enter the castle to get to the Smithy. Just follow him and he'll take you to the back of his shop, where he'll open a secret passage for you.

The passage makes your life easier by letting you bypass a couple of guards and one locked door. Dairihill's schedule has her in her room in the afternoons and late nights, but she doesn't sleep there on the weekends. So the wee hours of the morning on a weekend would be the ideal time to break in. Her office is around the corner from where the secret passage ends and you'll have to get through the lock on her door and the lock on her desk to get the list of candidates. If you speak to her in the audience hall when she's in attendance on the Countess, you'll be able to learn that her cousin is in line for the job and has a good shot at getting it (thanks to her not telling the Countess about the candidate list). Once you have the list, it's time to find a forger. S'krivva doesn't know of one and suggest that you search around.

The beggars in Anvil come to the rescue again (for a few golds this time). They'll tell you to talk to the Stranger who lives in the house next to the Mages Guild. The Stranger will do it, but needs a full day to do the job (at least 24 hours) and it will cost you 500 gold.

While you're waiting for the the Stranger to finish, you can earn some Fame for yourself by completing a few quests. Carihil's Recommendation quest for the Mages Guild can be completed in a couple of hours (game time), as can "The Ghost Ship of Anvil" at the docks. "The Siren's Deception" (listen for a "Gang" topic and follow up on it) can also be completed in a few game hours, depending upon the time of day when you first pick it up. "Where Spirits Have Lease" is a quest that gets you a house as a reward, but it involves a bit of travelling and might take a bit more than a game day.

So kill the time however you'd like, but make sure you have the money available to pay The Stranger. Then collect the new list (with a glowing recommendation for Lex) and it's off to the Imperial City Prison.

The Commander's office is the second door to the left after you enter the district. It may be the most direct route to the seal, but the high-level lock on the door may make it the hardest. Instead, you may find it easier to get in through the kitchen. It's a trade-off: one high-difficulty lock versus one easier one and one hard one. The advantage of going through the kitchen is that you can use a "Detect Life" spell to scope out when the coast is clear in the commander's office. Again, waiting until the wee hours of the morning will make your life a bit easier. The seal is on the commander's desk. All you have to do is activate it to complete the deal.

Now beat feet back to Castle Anvil and deliver the forged list to the Countess. She will only talk to you about it during her audience times, although you might be able to deliver it when when she comes down to dinner at 8 p.m. The simplest way is to just wait around until she's sitting on her throne (or standing on it - I've seen her do it) and then play courier. The Countess was about to give the job to Dairihill's cousin, but will gladly sign off on the transfer orders and send you off to deliver them.

If you'd like to rub salt in the wound, tell Dairihill about the letter before delivering it, refuse to give it to her and then hit up her up for a 20 gold tip after delivering it to the Countess. If you actually deliver the letter to Dairihill, she will not give it to the Countess, so you'll have to steal it back from her. In any event, collecting the tip from Dairihill will drop her disposition by 20 points.

Now it's off to find Lex to deliver the "good" news. Although you can try sneaking into the South Watchtower while he's sleeping to deliver the orders, it's much simpler to just catch him while he's out on his rounds. He's not a happy camper about the transfer and is certain that the Gray Fox is behind it all. But orders are orders. Maybe he'll run into the Gray Fox in Anvil.

Your mission is now complete and you can report back to S'krivva to collect your reward. You'll get a total of 1000 gold (500 for the mission and 500 to pay you back for the forgery), a promotion to Shadowfoot and access to your new fence, Orrin.

This will also be your last mission from S'krivva. She'll tell you that she has nothing for a thief of your skill and that you should wait to hear from the Gray Fox himself. In the interim, keep the money flowing into the guild coffers through the fences.

Your Gray Fox trivia for this mission is that the Gray Fox, for reasons that have not been made clear at this point, has extended his protection to the Umbranox family and particularly to Countess Millana Umbranox. The Stranger will also make a comment to the effect that "he's just a man; not a Daedric Lord".