Riften has a notorious reputation in Skyrim for being rife with crime and corruption, with the Thieves Guild making their home beneath the streets of Riften. Unlike the Thieves Guilds in Morrowind or Cyrodiil, they are less honorable and likable.
But the Thieves Guild aren’t the only criminals residing in Riften. Plenty of other lowlife bandits and thieves call Riften home. And these people have no qualms against harassing honest folk just trying to ink out a living.
Dravin and his wife Synda are farmers to the northwest of Riften who have fallen victim to a burglary. While Dravin was in Riften buying supplies, thieves came to his farm and stole a family heirloom and his gold. A farmer is no match for a band of thieves in combat, but a Dragonborn? It would barely be considered a morning workout. Let’s help this Dark Elf couple out, shall we?
To begin the Dravin’s Bow quest, otherwise known as Bow to the Master, you must speak with Dravin Llanith at the Merryfair Farm northwest of Riften.
- Gloves of the Pugilist (Potentially)
- Beggar (Pickpocket skill book)
- Five leveled gems
Speak With Dravin
To begin the quest, fast travel to Riften Stables. Head due east of the city gates, and you’ll find yourself at Merryfair Farm after a short walk.
Before speaking with Dravin, chat up his wife, Synda. She will lament how miserable Dravin has been since the burglary. We’ll get to that, but first, help her pick some wheat. If you haven’t become the Thane of Riften yet, giving Synda some crops will count towards aiding the people of the Rift.
After you’ve helped Synda, speak with Dravin. Despite several Rift guards patrolling the farm, thieves were able to rob the place. While Dravin was in Riften purchasing supplies, thieves broke in and stole his gold and a bow. Dravin’s Bow is a family heirloom, and he considers it the only thing of value that he has.
Dravin will ask you to get it back for him and offer to pay you whatever he can. He ran into the thieves on his way back from Riften and is sure they live in the Ratway. Criminals from that part of Riften tend to have a distinct stench.
Grab yourself a nose plug because we’re heading into the underbelly of the criminal capital of Skyrim.
Head to Riften and down to the lower levels of the town to reach The Ratway.
The Ratway is a significant location in Skyrim, and you’ll find yourself here for both the main story and any Thieves Guild activities. If you have completed the main quest, Diplomatic Immunity, be extra careful here. You will be ambushed on two different occasions by Thalmor assassins none too pleased with your activities at the Thalmor Embassy.
If this is your first time in The Ratway, two thugs, Hewnon Black-Skeever and Drahff, will be in the entry chamber past the first corridor. Kill them, then continue forward and drop down to the lower level to head deeper into the sewers. The door to the next room will have a trap trigger, so disarm it before opening the door. There is an oil slick trap in this room, and it may come in handy soon.
In the next room is a thug named Gian the Fist. If Gian is giving you trouble, lure him into the previous room and activate the oil slick trap. After killing him, loot his corpse for the Gloves of the Pugilist.
These gloves are the only Fortify Unarmed item in the base game of Skyrim and also the easiest of them all to acquire. They’re a great pickup early on if you’re having trouble when you get into brawls (Though, to be honest, circle-strafing trivializes any fistfight).
Watch out for all the bear traps scattered in Gian’s chamber, then press on. There will be a lowlife in the next room in front of a table. Kill the lowlife, then inspect the table for a nice prize: a Beggar skill book.
Reading Beggar will increase your Pickpocket skill by one, though I highly recommend you NOT read it. Pickpocket is one of the worst skills in Skyrim to level up, so unless you’re level 90+ Pickpocket, leave it for now. It’s not going anywhere.
Head through the opening ahead and on the left of the table to activate a lever. Doing so will release the drawbridge back to the entrance chamber. The right path leads to an Expert-locked gate to the lower level beneath the drawbridge. Wrap up things here and then head into the Ragged Flagon.
Unless you are a member of the Thieves Guild, no one in the Ragged Flagon will have much to say to you. Head to the back of the Flagon and into The Ratway Vaults to continue the quest.
The Ratway Vaults
There are two vagrant archers on the lower level of the Vaults. You can jump down and engage them or duke it out archer style from up here. To your left is a passageway leading down to the lower levels. There’s a tripwire that sets off a morningstar trap in the doorway.
There’s usually a lowlife in this room. Three skeever are here as well, and they may or may not be alive depending on when you come down here. Loot the skeever corpses for a couple of their tails, then head down into the next room.
There’s a workbench here, and you can pick up a couple of iron ingots and leather strips. There’s also an Orcish war axe beside the workbench, which is a decent weapon if you come here early in your playthrough.
Head to the left and downstairs, and you’ll be in the final room of The Ratway Vaults. Pick clean some spoils off the table, namely the gold and potentially an enchanted weapon. Loot the oddly tiny chests on the table before picking the Apprentice-locked chest near the shelf. Inside will be Dravin’s Bow.
Further ahead is an entrance to The Ratway Warrens, but that’s for the main quest. Let’s double back out of The Ratway and head to Dravin for our reward.
Returning Dravin’s Bow
Head back to Merryfair Farm and give return the heirloom to Dravin. He will thank you for your efforts and reward you with five leveled gems.
If you want, it’s possible to exploit this quest. Diamonds and rubies make for better rewards than garnets and amethysts, so you may want to hold off on completing this quest until you level up some more. Your level determines the gems Dravin gives you, but the game only generates them after you return Dravin’s Bow, not when you start the quest.
If you want to do this, it would be best to leave Dravin’s Bow where you found it and come back for it later. Since it’s a quest item, you can’t remove it from your inventory except by giving it to Dravin. You don’t want an extra 7 pounds taking up precious inventory space.
Question: Is Dravin’s Bow a good weapon?
Answer: Dravin’s Bow is a standard Hunting Bow. It’s impossible to find any use from it since even the vagrants you kill in The Ratway will have better bows.
Question: Can I access the Ragged Flagon even if I’m not a member of the Thieves Guild?
Answer: Yes. It makes no sense far as I’m concerned, but a criminal outfit has no issues with a random person waltzing through their hideout. Don’t steal any of their stuff, and you’ll be fine.
Question: Can I get Dravin’s Bow before getting the quest from Dravin?
Answer: Yes, you can, but I recommend you don’t. Skyrim regularly takes issues with you retrieving quest items before starting their quests. If you get Dravin’s Bow before speaking with Dravin, the quest may not appear, and you’re stuck with a Hunting Bow in your inventory permanently.
Dravin’s Bow Guide: Conclusion
Bow to the Master is a decent starter quest to help newer Skyrim players get their feet set in the world of Skyrim. It gives them a reason to clear out most of The Ratway early on, and none of the enemies will be hard for beginners to take down. You can sell the rewarded gems for a decent amount of early game gold. Or keep them since crafting jewelry for Smithing experience is pretty overpowered.
It’s also a short and sweet objective you can complete while working your way to becoming Thane of Riften. Honeyside has its’ disadvantages, but a house is a house.
But Dravin’s Bow is just one of the many miscellaneous quests you can take on to help the people of Riften. And it’s far from being the most difficult. Chat up some people around town and find more trouble to get into if you really want to put your skills to the test.