Elder Scrolls Quests:A Cornered Rat
A Cornered Rat
|A Cornered Rat|
|Next Quest||Alduin’s Wall|
During Diplomatic Immunity, the Dragonborn will find out about Esbern, an old friend of Delphine and the only other member of the Blades in Skyrim. Delphine will tell the Dragonborn to go to the Ratway in Riften to find him before the Thalmor do. Thalmor Agents will pop up outside as well, once the Dragonborn has talked to Esbern, the agents will attack.
Esbern is located in the Ratway Warrens behind a barred door with a viewing slot. Access the Ratway Warrens by traveling through several areas, including the Ratway, The Ragged Flagon, and The Ratway Vaults. The Ratway’s main entrance is located on the South end and lower level of Riften .
Brynjolf, if not spoken to already, will be located in town during the day and at the Bee and Barb at night. Talking to Brynjolf at the Bee and Barb will trigger conversation leading to the Thieves Guild quest line. If the Dragonborn has already become a member of the Thieves Guild they can talk to Brynjolf or Vekel the Man inside the Ragged Flagon Cistern to advance to the next part of the quest.
Alternatively, chatting to Keerava, the barmaid of the Bee and Barb, can give the Dragonborn the information without putting the question to Brynjolf, although this will bypass the introduction to the Thieves Guild. In the Ragged Flagon, talk to Vekel about Esbern. He will not give information about Esbern unless the Dragonborn has a high persuasion, 140 or beats him in a Brawl. Then, he will give Esbern’s location and warn of Thalmor looking for him as well.
After meeting with Brynjolf and mentioning Esbern, he will give information that Esbern is in the Ratways, and the quest marker will update accordingly. There have been problems reported with quest advancement if the quest, A Chance Arrangement, has been picked up. A Cornered Rat can progress after completing A Chance Arrangement or after being caught. Brynjolf then will ask the Dragonborn if they want to join the thieves guild (if this hasn’t been done already), and a new quest will start. The slot on Esbern’s door will be closed, and conversation with Esbern is not possible if the quest has not advanced properly.
Some events in the Ratway may unfold differently depending on certain events in Diplomatic Immunity.
If this is the first time inside the Ratway, there will be a few enemies to fight through to get to the headquarters of the Thieves Guild. If a member of the Thieves’ Guild, the Dragonborn may enter through the secret entrance in the Riften graveyard.
If in the quest in which the Dragonborn infiltrates to the Thalmor Embassy, if the Dragonborn does not kill a man named Gissur, It is possible to be attacked by him outside the entrance to The Ragged Flagon. Inside, after the attack, Gissur may be identified by Guild members and killed. The Dragonborn can take Gissur’s Note from his body. The note may also be found in the Ratway without the body. If Gissur was killed at the Thalmor Embassy, he will not appear during this quest.
From the Ragged Flagon, head through the Ratway Tunnels to get to the Ratway Warrens. It may be necessary to fight several Thalmor while navigating through the tunnels before locating the entrance. Once in the Warrens, locate a locked door with a viewing slot at the top of a set of steps and activate the door to engage Esbern in conversation. The Dragonborn will then be able to tell Esbern about Delphine and warn him of the Thalmor searching for him. After being convinced, there is an unusually long delay as he gathers his thoughts and unlocks what seems like an absurd number of door locks and bars.
Once inside, the conversation will continue as he gathers his belongings. He will be able to provide some additional background information about the Blades, and the Dragonborn will bring him up to date on current events. There may be more Thalmor to engage while exiting the Ratway with Esbern in tow. These are easier to manage with him fighting alongside. Alternatively, the Dragonborn can just run back into the Ragged Flagon where Esbern should appear, and have members of the Guild take them out.
When the Dragonborn manages to escape the Ratway along with Esbern, they will both appear in Riften’s lower walkway, and Esbern will soon comment about breathing fresh air. Esbern will follow the Dragonborn, and as they walk to Riften’s gate they will encounter a Thalmor assassin, a female Khajiit wearing normal, casual clothes and an Elven Dagger. After the assassin is dealt with they must travel to Riverwood and report to Delphine.
In some cases bugs can be avoided altogether by using console command
Each time he seems to be frozen, try one of several reported fixes: