Skyrim:Maven Black-Briar

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Maven Black-Briar
(RefID: 00019DD1)
Home City Riften
House Black-Briar Manor
Race Nord Gender Female
Level PC×1 (range=10-35) Class Nightblade
RefID 00019DD1 BaseID 0001336A
Other Information
Health 50+(PC-1)×8.3
Magicka 50+(PC-1)×3.3
Stamina 50+(PC-1)×3.3
Primary Skills Destruction, Sneak, Alteration, One-handed
Moral. No Crime Aggress. Unaggressive
Essential Yes
Faction(s) CR04ExclusionFaction; CrimeFactionRift; FavorExcludedFaction; Imperial Government; MQ201PartyGuestHappy; NPCs the Player cannot marry; Riften Black Briar House Faction; Thieves Guild No Pickpocketing Faction; TownRiftenFaction; faction for party guests
Maven Black-Briar

Maven Black-Briar is the matriarch of the Black-Briar family, and unofficially controls most of Riften. She is the mother of Hemming Black-Briar, and grandmother of Ingun and Sibbi. Maul is her right hand man and enforces her will in the city. She has strong ties with both the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood. Maven lives in Black-Briar Manor, although she spends most of her day inside The Bee and Barb. Maven seems to like strong-minded people and will complain about Brynjolf recruiting people with no backbone into the Thieves Guild, if you apologize to her when you first meet.

Maven wears fine clothes with fine boots along with a leveled necklace and ring. She carries a belted tunic, her personal key, the Black-Briar Manor key, a leveled dagger, a potion, and a selection of upper-class items and gold. She knows the spells Lightning Bolt, Sparks, and Steadfast Ward.

Her brewery, Black-Briar Meadery, is in fierce competition with Honningbrew Meadery, and Maven will ask you to put the owner Sabjorn out of business during the quest Dampened Spirits, following which it will be, in the words of the new owner "converted into Black-Briar Meadery West".

Maven makes no secret of her ties to the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood, and often says she will call on the Dark Brotherhood to kill anyone who crosses her, in spite of any progress you have made in either of these groups' questlines. These threats are empty though and she will never act on them. However, should you choose to betray the Black-Briars in the quest Promises to Keep, a group of Black-Briar Mercenaries will be sent to kill you.

Maven will become Jarl of Riften if you choose to aid the Imperial Legion in their Reunification of Skyrim, or trade Riften for Markarth during the negotiations in Season Unending. If you join the Legion and help the Empire to retake Riften, you will discover in the process that the steward of the pro-Stormcloak jarl, Laila Law-Giver, is in fact a member of the Thieves Guild put in place by Maven to manipulate the jarl into protecting her interests.

As jarl, Maven will move into Mistveil Keep with Hemming as her steward and Maul as her housecarl and follow a different routine befitting her new station. As she will tell you during Diplomatic Immunity, Maven supports both the Empire and the Thalmor, as she respects those who wield power. If the Stormcloaks manage to retake Riften, Maven and her court will not be exiled, but merely return to their routines, an indication of the power the Black-Briars wield, regardless of titles.

In the basement of the Black-Briar Manor in Riften is a locked room containing the remains of a Black Sacrament ritual, as well as a letter from Maven Black-Briar complaining that her contract has not been carried out.

If Riften is under control of the Stormcloaks, Maven may greet you by saying, "I presume you're bothering me for a good reason?", "What in the name of Oblivion do you want?" or "I don't have time for idle chit-chat. What is it?" After Riften is under control of the Imperial Legion and Maven becomes jarl, she will have new greetings: "The throne suits me, don't you think?", "My title is just a formality. I've always been in charge around here." and "Jarl Maven Black-Briar. Has a pleasant sound to it, wouldn't you say?"

When exiting conversation, Maven may say either "I believe we're done." or "Out of my way."

Related Quests

Quest-related Events

During the quest Dampened Spirits, when meeting Maven after Brynjolf tells you to, she will greet you with "About time you showed up." You will be directed to speak to Mallus Maccius. After listening to her orders, she will end with "One more time in case I wasn't clear. You butcher this job and you'll be sorry." Speaking to her will get you an impatient comment from her: "Shouldn't you be on your way to Whiterun?" You may return to Maven after having spoken to Mallus, but she will only ask you, "Why aren't you at Honningbrew Meadery?" Upon returning to Maven after coming back from Honningbrew Meadery, she may greet you by saying: "I trust you have good news for me." You can tell her the plan has succeeded, and she will reward you with a leveled sword. Talking to her after this will have her inform you, "I believe Brynjolf wishes to speak with you. We're done here."

Maven will also attend your installation ceremony as the new master of the Thieves Guild. If you haven't done the ceremony, Maven will tell you, "Not now, you idiot. We'll talk after this ridiculous ceremony." If you are about to talk to Brynjolf or have done so, Maven will also say, "I suppose congratulations are in order. Now don't screw it up."


While she saunters the streets of Riften, Maven may threaten its citizens, as shown with her interaction with Madesi:

Madesi: "Lady Maven, how may I help you?"
Maven: "Is it true that you refused to sell one of your... trinkets to Hemming?"
Madesi: "Please, milady, it was only because he threatened me. He said he'd have me thrown in the prisons if I didn't give him what he wanted! I can't afford to just give my jewelry away!"
Maven: "Next time a Black-Briar asks for something, I suggest you respond quickly and affirmatively."

She may confront Haelga about Hemming:

Maven: "Haelga, I like you, so I'm only going to say this one time. If you ever try and "practice the Dibellan arts" with Hemming again, I'll make sure that pretty little face loses its beauty."
Haelga: "He wasn't protesting, Maven."
Maven: "Of course he wasn't you stupid whore; he's a man. Now I'm not going to warn you again. Is that clear?"
Haelga: "Very well."

At The Bee and Barb, she and Hemming may talk about business:

Maven: "Hemming, I want you to personally supervise the next shipment."
Hemming: "We already have people that do that and they make quite a bit of coin for it."
Maven: "I don't trust them. Come to think of it, I don't trust you either, but at least you're family."
Hemming: "Anything you say, Mother."
Hemming: "Bersi still refuses to cooperate. What did you want to do?"
Maven: "I've known Bersi a long time. Even before he opened that rubbish heap he calls a shop."
Hemming: "And if he still refuses?"
Maven: "Then put the thumbscrews on him and hit him... hard."

At the inn, Maven can be found chatting with Vulwulf Snow-Shod:

Vulwulf: "Maven! So good to see you again. Hoist a flagon and celebrate with me!"
Maven: "Vulwulf, it's always a pleasure. When you're standing downwind of me."
Vulwulf: "Sorry, what was that?"
Maven: "Nothing Vulwulf.... cheers."

She will also try to persuade him to fund a shipment:

Maven: "I'm telling you, Vulwulf, it's the investment you've been waiting for."
Vulwulf: "So I pay for the weapon shipments and you oversee their distribution to the Stormcloaks?"
Maven: "Exactly. What better way to help the cause than to put weapons into the hands of young Nord warriors dying for their homeland?"
Vulwulf: "Shor's Beard! You're right! I'll do it... provided you supervise the shipments personally."
Maven: "Don't worry, I'll treat those shipments as if I owned them myself."

At the Black-Briar Manor, she may voice her disapproval of Ingun's interests. They refer to each other as mother and daughter:

Maven: "Ingun, how much longer do you intend to waste your life concocting your foolish little potions?"
Ingun: "I've told you, my interest in the family business is quite low. I wish to be much more than just a merchant."
Maven: "Your interests lay where I wish them to lay otherwise my favorite daughter may end up homeless and without a septim to her name. Is that clear?"
Ingun: "Yes, mother."

Maven will again order her son to do her dirty work, this time about Sibbi:

Maven: "Hemming, I need you to bring a note to Sibbi. I need him to do something for me."
Hemming: "Sibbi? He's in prison... you put him there."
Maven: "I know that!" OR "I can promise you when he's ready, he'll find the cell door unlocked."
Hemming: "Why do you tolerate him, mother? All he contributes to this family is embarrassment and disgrace."
Maven: "I tolerate your son because he'll do anything I ask, without question. I'd expect the same from my own son."
Hemming: "I understand, mother. Forgive me."

If she becomes the Jarl of the Rift, she will never leave Mistveil Keep except for quests she is involved in, rendering most of the conversations above impossible. Instead, she will converse with other members of the court. Maul is now her housecarl and Hemming her steward.

Hemming: "There's still the matter of the prisoner to discuss. Now, his family is willing to contribute handsomely if we release him."
Maven: "The execution will proceed as planned."
Hemming: "But, mother... this is quite a sizable contribution and the crime doesn't befit such a harsh punishment."
Maven: "Are you going soft on me, Hemming? Perhaps I made the wrong choice installing you as steward."
Hemming: "No, mother. The execution will proceed as planned."

Another one of her conversations is about keeping the Stormcloaks at bay:

Maven: "Hemming, have you dispatched that letter I gave you yesterday?"
Hemming: "Yes, and I sent it with our fastest courier and under the cover of night, exactly as you specified."
Maven: "Good. If I need to light a few fires in order to get what we need to defend this place from the Stormcloaks, so be it."
Hemming: "I'm almost certain he'll reach the Imperial City tomorrow, so we should have an answer by the end of the week."

Maven and Maul will also discuss business, as usual:

Maven: "Any word about our little problem in the Ratway?"
Maul: "I've spoken to Brynjolf and he assures me it'll be taken care of."
Maven: "Next time you speak to him, tell him to clean up his own messes. I'm not about to jeopardize this position for a bunch of low-life thugs."
Maul: "I'll let him know."
Maul: "My agents are telling me that we've appropriated the caravan from Hammerfell... with minimal losses."
Maven: "For what it's costing me, I should be handed the merchandise on a silver platter."
Maul: "The coin isn't just for the men, there's a lot of people that need to be compensated in order to make this happen."
Maven: "And a hefty cut for yourself too I'm sure. Just see to it the items are secured and the rest disposed of properly this time."

Additionally, Maven may attempt to rush Wylandriah, her court wizard, to finish some potions:

Maven: "Why are the potions I requested not completed?"
Wylandriah: "I'm sorry, milady. The components for those elixirs are quite volatile and in some cases, very dangerous to handle. I must take care."
Maven: "Excuses are not acceptable in my court. When I ask for something I expect results, and I expect them immediately."
Wylandriah: "Yes, milady. Sorry, milday [sic]. They will be completed."

Maul can be heard remarking on Maven's newfound power:

Maul: "Your mother seems to have taken to her seat quite well."
Hemming: "Yes, she's been grooming herself for this for quite a long time."
Maul: "It's surprising the Council is allowing a Nord rule Riften under the Imperial flag. That can't be their first choice."
Hemming: "Let's just say my mother knows which pockets to line and keep it at that."

Cut Conversations

In a cut part of the Stormcloak questline, there was going to be a siege of Riften in the event that you had lost the city in either a battle or as a result of Season Unending. This siege would play out almost exactly the same way that the Battle for Whiterun does in the main game. Upon reaching the throne room, you would be greeted to this exchange (note that this is the same dialogue that would play between Yngvar and Jarl Thongvor Silver-Blood if you were taking the city of Markarth back for the Empire under the same circumstances):

Maul: "Halt in the name of the Jarl!"
Maven: "Somehow I doubt that will persuade them."
Maul: "Stay back, lord!"
Maven: "If they want my city, they're going to have to take it from me personally."
Maul: "Protect the Jarl with your lives!"

Once the ensuing battle had ended, this exchange would play (again, this is the same dialogue that would play if you were taking the city of Markarth back for the Empire under the same circumstances):

Laila: "Ahhh... It's good to be home."
Maven: "Welcome back. I've left a few surprises for you to discover."
Laila: "How kind of you. And I've brought an army to give you a going away parade."
Galmar: "If you two are finished with the touching homecoming, there's a city in chaos out there."
Laila: "Indeed. Come, there is much to be done."

If you were taking Riften for the Empire however, the battle would conclude with this exchange between Laila, Maven, and Legate Rikke, however, Rikke's lines are incorrectly attributed to and voiced by Galmar.

Maven: "I think I'll like living here."
Laila: "So enters Maven Black-Briar, the glint of Imperial coin in her eyes. So tell me, what's the price for a woman's integrity these days?"
Maven: "You never were able to see the forest for the trees, were you?"
Laila: "We Nords were proud warriors once. And we still could be. Evidenced by the men and women who fought and died bravely today. You could see that if you had any faith left in that black heart of yours. But no, you're content to snatch scraps falling off the Emperor's table. Fine. Take my home. Take my city. May it burn down around you."
Maven: "A bit melodramatic, even for you Laila. Pack your things and go."
Laila: "One day when you can see past your own interests, you will come to see that we were right. And this... This is all wrong."
Rikke: "If you ladies are finished bickering, there's much to be done. Jarl Black-Briar put your government together. Do it now, or there will be rioting in the streets. We must move quickly to prevent further violence."
Maven: "Jarl Black-Briar. I must admit, I do like the sound of that. And don't worry about any rioting, Legate. I have it under control. We will soon begin publicly executing captured men. That should send a clear message to the people."
Laila: "Yes, but not likely the one you intend."
Maven: "Oh? I don't expect anyone to miss my meaning. Come, Legate. There's much to do."


  • Unlike other jarls, Maven will not be exiled to Blue Palace if the Stormcloaks retake Riften and Laila Law-Giver becomes the jarl again. However, after Riften is liberated, Maven can be found walking away from Solitude.
  • Lillith Maiden-Loom claims to be friends with Maven, though Maven never mentions her.


  • Some dialogue incorrectly identifies Maven as the mother of Ingun and Sibbi, while in actuality she is their grandmother.
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