A Thousand Words
A Thousand Words is a quest added by Interesting NPCs.
- Speak to Halcar to receive the quest.
- Travel to Markarth to find what happened
- Obtain the painting
- Kill Ester Maroux or take the painting
- Speak to Halcar for your reward
The quest can be started by talking to Halcar, an Altmer that can be encountered in Radiant Raiment. When spoken to, he will explain that he is waiting there for his assistant, who is to bring back the final painting of a series of seven. These paintings were created by the artist Ester Maroux, a writer of Dwarven stories. These seven paintings are said to be Maroux's greatest work.
Halcar already has the first six paintings, and tells the Dragonborn that he purchased the last one from the Silver-Blood family in Markarth. Unfortunately, his assistant has yet to return. It is up to the Dragonborn to go and find out what happened to the assistant.
When talking to a Redguard named Primei, the Dragonborn finds out the painting is said to be cursed and that anyone who looks at it, will inevitably die. She also mentions that the painting is at the Treasury House.
After taking the painting from the safe, the Dragonborn will be teleported to a room filled with dead bodies, where Ester Maroux is waiting for them. She explains that she was looking for the perfect ending to a story, and when she couldn't describe it with words, she sought it in paintings. She met a wanderer with his dog, who later is revealed as Clavicus Vile. He provided her with the perfect ending, in exchange that she'd become the painting's guardian.
The Dragonborn is then given two options: they can either choose to fight Ester or take the painting behind them - which, according to her, is the worst option.
If Ester Maroux is killed, the Dragonborn will be teleported back to Treasury House. When the painting is returned to Halcar, he will derive his own interpretation of the painting of deathbells. Before he can explain what the ending is, however, he will die and thus completing the quest.
If the painting is taken instead of killing Ester Maroux, the Dragonborn will be teleported back to the Treasury House. Halcar will this time derive his own interpretation of the painting of a Dunmer woman, and explains to the Dragonborn that it is a satire on written work. He thanks the player, which completes the quest and rewards one of the earlier works of Ester Maroux, the book A Winter Siren, Volume I.