Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
The Hooded Man awaits the Devourer in Thole, presumably with some important message regarding their shard future. Unfortunately, he's decided to hide inside the Arcanum, a remote building hidden behind a locked gate. The Devourer and his Puppet will have to find the Arcanum Key and get through the gate to reach the old man before any of their questions will receive answers...
Get a Message to House Malfagon
Trigger: Shakkik; only available to Jasker
Location: Central Thole
Reward: 400 experience, Arcanum Key
- Upon arrival in Thole, Jasker will engage the Captain of Guards briefly in banter. This will automatically unlock the quest for you.
- Head to the center of town. You'll find a caged Ishkai. Speak to Shakkik to learn of his plight.
- Head northeast and across a bridge to find the HQ of the Guild of Silk. Speak to Arashad, leader of the guild, and inquire about Shakkik three times. This will unlock two options for securing his release. Note that you can undertake one without precluding the option of the other. (That said, at least as of this writing, if you take on eliminating the Spiders and then swap quests, any further Aphotic Spiders you kill will no longer drop the quest item you need. Just an FYI.)
Option 1: Kill Aphotic Spiders
- Your first option is to destroy an infestation of Aphotic Spiders, creatures that you've encountered before. Arashad asks that you kill ten of the beasties at the Burial Grounds on the west side of Thole, triggering the quest Spider Cull.
- Head into the dungeon, take down ten Aphotic Spiders, pick up the Aphotic Spider Body each one drops, and return to Arashad with your haul. Note that Aphotic Spiders are not guaranteed to drop the Body, as strange as that sounds, so you may (probably will) have to kill more than ten to complete the quest. You also won't get the same drops by killing Aphotic Spiders in the Forgotten Tombs, their other spawning ground at this point in the game.
Option 2: Steal for Arashad
- If you opt to steal for Arashad he'll give you the Key to Guild of Steel Cellar, allowing you to infiltrate the Guild of Steel Cellar in the south of Thole. This triggers the quest The Heirloom, which will take you into an area you wouldn't otherwise be able to access. (I recommend this quest, personally, as you get more experience and items overall.)
- Steal inside and check the north half of the Cellar for a sleeping guard. He'll drop an Iron Key. Head back south and use the Key on an Iron Gate in the southwest corner of the Cellar to open the way to your target, the Heirloom Sword, which is sitting in a crate, down a flight of stairs near the blocked exit in the east. Grabbing it will bring three Steel Wardens down into the Cellar. These guys are quite tough, and should only be engaged one-at-a-time. Fire on them from a distance, and use Stunning Shot if you have it to halt their merciless attacks temporarily. You do not want to fight two of these guys at a time. If they run you into a corner or take out your Puppets, change to the Devourer to avoid them entirely.
- Ascend the stairs near the box where you found the sword and you'll be in the Guild of Steel. Make your way to the exit in the east, picking Steel Wardens off as you go. As before, do not lure more than one of these guys into a fight at a time. They'll cream you. The Guild of Steel's main floor is home to a plenitude of prizes that you can plunder if you wish to take the time; otherwise, just head for the light of day and depart the mini-dungeon.
- Return to Arashad with your prize(s). He'll give you a bundle of experience and set Shakkik free. Return to Shakkik's cage and speak to him to complete the quest. He'll hand over the Arcanum Key you need before departing. You can now use the Arcanum Key to get through the gate in the far north of Thole and find the Hooded Man.