- Speak to Enthir at The Frozen Hearth in Winterhold.
- Find and speak to Calcelmo in Markarth.
- Enter Calcelmo’s Museum.
- Copy the Falmer Translation Guide.
- Bring the copy of the Guide to Enthir.
- Speak to Karliah.
- Return to the Thieves’ Guild.
First go speak with Enthir at The Frozen Hearth in Winterhold. Note there is a bug that dictates you cannot talk to Enthir if you have started, but not completed the quest The Staff of Magnus, as Enthir believes Winterhold to be in danger and will continually repeat “This is going to be terrible for business”. After talking to Enthir, go speak to Calcelmo at Understone Keep in Markarth. He won’t give you what you’re looking for so you will have to steal it. From here you have several options:
- You can go straight to the museum if you wish to pick the lock.
- Using this method causes the guards in the museum to be hostile, and as they are city guards you will incur a bounty if you kill them.
- The museum is a great spot for improving your lockpicking skills. There are locked display cases all around for all skill levels. Make sure you are equipped with a lot of lockpicks and patience.
- You can simply grab his key; which should be right next to him on the table.
- This option will also cause the guards to be hostile.
- If you ask to visit the archaeological site, you will be asked to kill Nimhe (a stronger frostbite spider). After you have done this task you will be given the key to the museum, and can walk past the city guards without sneaking.
- Solving Calcelmo’s love problems during a Temple of Mara quest will add additional dialog where he will hand over the key to the museum, and allow you passage (the guard at the door will still tell you you can’t enter, but the guards inside won’t bother you).
Continue past the guards and enter the lab. The guards here will be hostile regardless of the method you chose to enter the museum, but they are Calcelmo’s personal guards and therefore will not give you a bounty. It is, however, possible to sneak past them anyway, if you desire to do so. If you don’t, employing the various traps around the lab using pull levers and valves will make this section far easier. The shortest route to Calcelmo’s quarters is barred from the other side, so you have to go through the lab, out onto the Wizard’s Balcony (just before the door to exit to the balcony you can find a Dwemer puzzle cube to sell to Delvin), and up the stairs to the right into Calcelmo’s Tower. Move down a short hall, turn left, and go up the stairs to a room which contains charcoal and rolls of paper, which you will need to copy the Guide; a massive stone tablet that cannot be moved.
After copying the text, two guards, the city captain, and Calcemo’s nephew enter to hunt you down. You may fight them if you wish, but if you have high sneak you can simply sneak past them after they split up (distracting the remaining guard by killing Calcelmo’s nephew with an arrow is a good way to go). Note that if you choose to fight them, Calcelmo’s nephew may reanimate the slain guards, so be sure to take him out first. If you feel you like running, you can simply dash forward and exit back to the Wizards Balcony. A waypoint will indicate an exit route: hugging the right edge of the balcony will lead you into a small hole to the waterfall. If you carefully fall into the waterfall you will take no damage, and then you can just fast travel to Winterhold. (By using the Ethereal shout, you can become invulnerable for 20 seconds or more.) You can always proceed back through the museum – avoiding any guards you didn’t kill earlier.
Return to Winterhold, where Karliah and Enthir are waiting in the cellar of the Frozen Hearth. Speak to each of them; Karliah will tell you that Gallus, Mercer, and she were the Nightingales – a secret faction of the Thieves’ Guild sworn to protect the Shrine of Nocturnal. Karliah presents you with the Nightingale Blade.
Return to Riften and head to the Thieves’ Guild through the Ratway. The graveyard entrance will be inaccessible until the end of the quest. Meet with Karliah, then enter the Ragged Flagon Cistern to speak with Brynjolf. Karliah shows Gallus’ journal to Brynjolf, and he checks the vault to find it empty. Brynjolf briefs you on your next task.