The Golden Claw
The Golden Claw is a quest that is triggered either by speaking to Lucan Valerius in Riverwood, or travelling to Bleak Falls Barrow and overhearing the bandits speaking of Arvel the Swift attempting to uncover some mystery behind the Golden Claw item.
If triggered by speaking to Lucan Valerius, he will inform you that bandits broke into his store and made off with only one item: the Golden Claw. His sister, Camilla Valerius wishes to go to Bleak Falls Barrow to retrieve the Claw, but he requests the Dragonborn to do so in her place for a gold reward. Upon accepting the quest, Camilla will provide directions to the barrow.
The exterior of the barrow is guarded by bandits, and a few more will occupy the initial areas within; note that one of the bandits, if you let him, will end up killing himself triggering a trap level that would otherwise open a gate leading further into Bleak Falls Barrow.
To disarm the trap, you must pay attention to the symbols engraved on three statues surrounding the closed gate; match the symbols on the pillars to the left of the gate, then activate the lever. If you properly matched the symbols, the gate should open, otherwise an arrow trap will trigger and possibly kill you like it did the unfortunate bandit. You can actually avoid the arrows if you are crouched and close the gate when you activate the lever.
Eventually the Dragonborn will find Arvel himself, captured by a wounded Frostbite Spider. Upon defeating the spider, Arvel requests the Dragonborn to free him in exchange for the claw, but escapes at the first opportunity in hopes of taking the mysterious treasure of the barrow for himself. His freedom is short-lived, as he is shortly killed by Draugr awakening from their tombs.
The Dragonborn will find the claw on Arvel's corpse, as well as his notes on the item explaining that it is in fact a key that will unlock the deepest part of the barrow. At this point the Dragonborn can travel back to Riverwood and return the claw to Lucan, but s/he may also attempt to finish Arvel's work by venturing deeper into the barrow.
The claw is indeed a key needed to unlock a great door sealed by three symbols. To unlock the door, the proper symbols must be aligned before using the claw as the key. The correct sequence of symbols from top to bottom are carved onto the claw itself, viewable in the Dragonborn's inventory screen.
Once the great door is unlocked, the claw is returned to the Dragonborn's inventory and s/he may venture into the final portion of the barrow with a Dragon Wall that rewards the Dragonborn with the first word for a new Dragon Shout, Unrelenting Force, which will require the soul of a Dragon to unlock. Once the shout is received, the Dragonborn must overcome one final obstacle: either or a Draugr Overlord or a Dragon Priest (level dependant) armed with Dragon Shouts of their own!
- 400 Gold from Lucan
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