In the Dark Brotherhood mission where you have to kill one of the three people in the room: the Khajiit guy who was pretty cool, the mercenary who was pleading and a woman who was running her mouth at me. I killed the woman in the end.

Who actually had the contract?

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    I don't think there is a right choice. I killed all three without any consequence. Maybe they all had a contract on their head, or none of them. It doesn't mattered to my character... – Jupotter Jan 15 '12 at 12:20
  • I don't care about concequences I just want to know – CHARLO Jan 15 '12 at 12:28
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    The correct way of showing users your appreciation is by up voting and accepting their answers (to your questions). Thanking users by showing "thank you" in a question just makes it harder for other users to find your question, and reduces the readability of your question. – Wipqozn Jan 15 '12 at 12:40
  • Well I'll just than shadow wizard in a comment – CHARLO Jan 15 '12 at 12:59
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    Comments are nice. Upvotes and accepts are nicer. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 15 '12 at 13:00

While it's almost certain they all had contracts out on them, Astrid does prefer you killing one particular person over the others:

Vasha, the Khajit, describes himself as a murderer, a rapist, and a thief. If you kill him, Astrid remarks that he was the obvious choice.

However, if you kill all of them, she'll make a snarky comment that you're an overachiever.

But as you'll soon find out—should you choose to join the Dark Brotherhood—the contracts placed are, many times, non-obvious and counterintuitive.

Basically, the point of the abandoned shack test is to get you to kill on command: if the Family says someone needs to die, that person needs to die, regardless of what excuse they give you or backstory they have.

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    I always took that remark from Astrid as being a bit sardonic. She's not telling you you've chosen well, but rather, that you've chosen easily. +1 for the real point of the whole thing however. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 15 '12 at 18:25
  • It doesn't matter that much, as I brutally murdered the woman for running her mouth at me – CHARLO Jan 15 '12 at 19:04
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    I believe if you talk to the people in the dark brotherhood they mention about Astrid doing that type of initiation and something about all of them being innocent. She asked you to pick one to kill, you did.. That was the contract, your choice :) – James Jan 31 '12 at 1:53
  • Just because one of the ways Vasha describes himself is as a defiler of daughters doesn't necessarily mean he's a rapist. Khajiit can be smooth talkers and potentially interesting to a young lady(read the Real Barenziah series of books in the game. Volume 2 in particular I think). He may smooth talk young unmarried ladies into loosing their virtue with him, making the family out for blood when they find out(particularly if the are ultra racist nords). – Jtenorj3 Mar 21 '17 at 7:24

If you use the Clairvoyance illusion spell, it leads you to the Khajiit. Whether it's because he's the real contract, or if he just happens to be were the "location marker" of the quest is, I don't know. I would expect it to be him, or the Mercenary. The woman would makes sense too, as stated above the reasons for contracts are sometimes quite petty and ridiculous. I always choose the Khajiit. Not only does he threaten you (if you don't let him go), but he talks about all the disgusting actions he's been apart of.

I would say that it doesn't matter who has the contract. You aren't meant to know, so as in a real life situation such as this, might as well kill the one you THINK it is and keep a peaceful state of mind by believing you were right.

  • Very clever with the Clairvoyance spell, I didn't think of that. – Biff MaGriff Sep 14 '12 at 14:43

After I killed one of the targets I asked Astrid if I made the right choice. She said it didn't matter which one I choose, the test was to see if I could kill someone in cold blood.

You never get to know who had a contract or who didn't. As Jupotter already commented, they all probably had a contract on their head. That becomes pretty clear after doing a few contracts for the dark brotherhood; people want to see other people dead for all sorts of reasons.

  • Yes but I want to see some people's choices and reasons for doing so – CHARLO Jan 15 '12 at 13:30
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    @CHARLO Gaming.SE isn't a discussion site. We aren't here to talk about various peoples choices and reasons for doing things, we're here to answer questions. You might want to check out the FAQ. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 15 '12 at 13:48
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    Yes but I'm trying to narrow it down I want to know by asking questions hence QUESTIONS – CHARLO Jan 15 '12 at 14:39
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    Reason for killing any of the victims is simple. You have to do it to join dark brotherhood – Jimmy Mattsson Jan 15 '12 at 15:33

I personally think the contract's on her, since apparently when you kill her, she says 'well done.' (I've never killed her but that's what the wiki says.)

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    +1 for Randomname's answer. I actually killed her with my first char because I couldn't bring myself to kill any of the three hostages...even the cranky lady haha. – akaShaffe Feb 7 '12 at 7:20
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    She doesn't have a contract on her - whenever you kill her you fail the dark brotherhood membership quest and instead begin a quest to destroy the dark brotherhood. There's no reason that the dark brotherhood would put a contract on one of their senior members - the "well done" is more a gesture of congratulations on not getting sucked into the dark brotherhood – Dave McClelland Feb 7 '12 at 13:05
  • @DaveMcClelland Actually, SPOILER ALERT – mikhailcazi Dec 19 '14 at 6:32

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