The quest tells me to escort Esbern, even though he is nowhere to be found, and when I select the quest it gives me a marker to Delphine.

I checked Esberns cell and no one is there. What could be going on?

I play on Xbox 360.

  • 1
    Did you get him from his cell after infiltrating the thalmor embassy? At what time did you lose track of him?
    – Svj0hn
    Aug 8, 2015 at 15:24
  • As soon as I fast traveld poof he was gone Aug 8, 2015 at 15:26
  • Do you have a save from before he disappeared? If so, try reloading. Also, you could try going to delphine and waiting (T on PC, not sure how you do it on console).
    – Svj0hn
    Aug 8, 2015 at 15:28
  • Well I left the mission alone now I'm a level 25 XD and I can't progress in the story without this quest done Aug 8, 2015 at 15:30

8 Answers 8


If I remember correctly, Esbern is slow in walking. Head over to Delphine and wait a day or two in-game to see what happens.

If Esbern is still missing, try to fast-travel somewhere else and then back to Riverwood. Sometimes, you can just go into a building and he'll automagically teleport to you.

He might also still be wandering around Riften or the roads between Riften and Riverwood.

If you are on PC and Esbern is still missing (he's annoying), force him along with the console:

prid 00019DFD
moveto player

If you are on console, you're going to have to revert to a known working save. With Skyrim, always remember to save early and often.

  • CAn you use the console in Xbox 360? Sep 14, 2015 at 6:26
  • 3
    @YoungGuilo Sadly, no. The console is PC only. I'll see if I can find an Xbox compatible method to "cheat" him.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Sep 14, 2015 at 7:00

I've experienced the same issue: I couldn't find Esbern for the life of me. I even downloaded a mod to track him and it couldn't. I had already gone back to the Ratway Warrens, but then I went back again and a bunch of Thalmor wizards showed up and I killed them. Then, Esbern was there and my problem was fixed.

If you haven't done so yet, go back to the Ratway Warrens, or download the "A Skyrim GPS Tracker For NPCs - Flute Finder" mod (PC SE) (Xbox One), find him in the "other" category, and track him. It didn't work for me but it may work for you.


When this happened to me, he was slow walking around in the section of the map near his hideout (The Ratway Warrens). Once I went over there, he exited the door then teleported to Riverwood. It’s a little strange, but I was able to go on with the story.


According to this link, you might have to find the location with the help of other NPC's:

After infiltrating the Thalmor Embassy, return to Riverwood and inform Delphine of what you learned from the Thalmor records. Delphine is surprised to know her old colleague and fellow Blade, Esbern, is reportedly still alive. She tasks you with finding the archivist from his hiding place in Riften. Due to the clandestine nature of the Blades, Delphine gives you a secret phrase to deliver to Esbern in order to secure his trust when you locate him. Depending on your standing with the Thieves Guild, the journal will direct you to talk to Brynjolf, or search the Ratway for Esbern. If you are directed to find Brynjolf, you may speak to him, Dirge, or Vekel the Man inside The Ragged Flagon. All three give an option to persuade or bribe them for information on Esbern's location.

Of course, they will reveal that Esbern is in the Ratway Warrens, where his hideout truly is. Of course, what happens after that... You can find out for yourself or meet the spoilers in the link I gave you.


If you fast travel to Riverwood after getting Esbern from the cell, but Esbern is not with you nor at the Sleeping Giant Inn where Delphine is, Delphine will say something like, "What!? You left Esbern alone?" After that, fast travel back to Riften, then back once again to Riverwood. Esbern should then show up at the Sleeping Giant and you will enter while he is in mid-conversation with Delphine. It's definitely a glitch, but the above worked for me


I found the solution.

Fast travel to Whiterun and enter your house. Deposit an item and then fast travel to the location where you should have been heading. In this case it would be Riverwood.

You'll walk in on the start of their conversation together.

  • 3
    Any source for this? Why does "depositing" an item help?
    – Svj0hn
    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:21
  • This also assumes the user has a house. Are you sure it was not just the fast travel that fixed it for you?
    – user106385
    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:27
  • @Svj0hn I was looking on Gamepedia and for some reason depositing an item resets the account like a tick. So when the account resets you'll find that the quest resets and you'll pick up where you left off. Sep 14, 2015 at 6:33
  • @YoungGuilo Also, what exactly do you mean by "deposit"? Just leave something in a chest? It seems unlikely to reset anything at all.
    – Svj0hn
    Sep 14, 2015 at 12:58
  • @Svj0hn Fast Traveling did nothing for me. Esbern still was missing. On the Skyrim forums there was a post to deposit items in your home. I did it and then it worked. Sep 16, 2015 at 6:59

Fast travel to river wood and see Delphine,he will probably be there


It sounds like it has glitched out, you may have to restart.

You usually find him in the jail cell within the guild and have to take him back to Riverwood (where they talk catch up). He has a book in his pocket and he gives you the quest for Alduin Wall..

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