Once back in Gran Soren, rest until night at the Gran Soren Union Inn (if it's not night already) and grab one Skeleton Key from storage. This is kind of important for doing things all economic-like, so be sure you have one. Also make sure you have the 'Gardener's Permit' in your inventory. Once done, head to the magical land of the duke's castle.
Along the way, you can talk to a wandering guardsman named Ser Jakys, or a peasant named Flavian, both of whom will tell you about the gardener you're looking for. You don't need to talk to anybody, but Ser Jakys in particular will, point you towards the castle, where your simple plant-handler has apparently been imprisoned. How convenient! Maurin, the peasant who pointed you towards Hillfigure Knoll much earlier in the guide also has a bit of information to say about the missing gardener.
Now, it's night-time, and you no longer have the first-time grace here. If a guard spots you, you'll be arrested. It's a temporary set-back, sure, but still annoying. Just something to keep in mind while you do your clandestine business. From the gates head north into the 'Duchess's Gardens', where you'll find Mirabelle - Aelinore's handmaiden - standing on the southern end of the stone pavilion Talk to her and she'll lavish praises on you for your ability to follow simple directions. She'll comment on the uniqueness of the situation, and remind you of the duchess's marital status, and the need for secrecy.
Before you run off to see the duchess, however, you've one more bit of business to pick up. Head to the un-named grounds south of the castle to find Fedel standing near the southern pavilion, along the eastern side. (If Fedel isn't around, you may have to wait a few minutes for him to arrive.) Talk to him and he'll tell you the score. He's been keeping an eye on the duke's army in secret, and after years of internal observation, he's finally discovered a potential misdeed. One company is stockpiling supplies, and has stopped being a bunch of lazy garrison troops and actually started to work themselves into shape for war. Unfortunately for Fedel, he wrote these observations in a letter, which never made it to the duke. Why did Fedel just tell the duke in person? Who knows. If the letter is found, however, and knowledge of a potential military coup spreads, it could be bad for morale... and of course, if their enemies know they know about the coup attempt, the court will lose the element of surprise. Anyways, some flying monster that nests near Greatwall are the likely culprits. This quest gives you an excuse to explore a number of previously unexplored lands, so it'll be your next goal... once you're done fooling around in the castle, anyways.
It's time to infiltrate the duke's castle, which is far simpler than it might seem. Head through the front doors, continue east through the antechamber and the 'Audience Chamber' and scale the northern stairs behind (east of) the throne. Again, keep your eyes open for guards. You have a longer sight range than they do, so if you spot one, just wait for them to move on. And if you're playing an Assassin, in case you were wondering-no, Invisibility will not fool guards. Anyways, up the stairs you go, through a doorway and up more stairs. Reach the top of this tower and go through another doorway to reach the bridge connecting this tower to the duchess's tower, to the north-east. You'll notice the guard by the door is now gone (he only leaves after talking to Mirabelle), allowing you to gain access to the tower, unseen.
Why does this area location sound so naughty? Whatever, head on inside and watch a cutscene. Aelinore will try to pretend she's not a hussy, but before anything steamy happens, the Duke and Feste will arrive on the scene. Aelinore acts cool, and you hide behind a dressing screen. Feste will decide not to interrupt the 'ducal proceedings' and stay outside. Inside, however, the encounter between the duke and Aelinore doesn't go so well-he starts assaulting her (while drooling like some deranged beast), and begging forgiveness from somebody named 'Lenore'. The duke is an obviously troubled man.
You have two choices on how you want to handle things, here-you can leave the safety of your screen and confront the duke... or you can just wait. Waiting will result in Aelinore being killed by the duke, who comes to afterwards and flees the scene. This causes the quest to fail and, obviously, prevents you from doing any Aelinore-related quests in the future. There's only one more, but it grants you access to another area, which otherwise remains inaccessible for the whole game. In traditional Dragon's Dogma fashion, this high-profile murder won't get much attention.
Since there's really no point in letting Aelinore die, scamper out of cover and confront the duke. He'll stop with the choking business and glare at you with confused malice. He'll snap out of his frenzy, and Aelinore will go into spin mode... and set the blame on you. She'll summon the guard and an obviously still out-of-sorts duke will let his very fortunate wife call the shots. You'll find yourself in prison, under the attentions of one 'Ser Jakob', who chastises you for your adulterous inclinations. After you take your beating, Aelinore will show up, beg forgiveness, and give you two Skeleton Keys with which you can effect your escape.
An Innocent Man
When you're back in control, note that you'll have scored two more Skeleton Keys, and a 'Set of Prisoner's Rags'. If you took out a Skeleton Key before coming here, you can complete two quests now. The game will give you a few messages about prisons-simply put, if you harm somebody in Gran Soren, you'll be arrested, and you'll either have to break out (two Skeleton Keys required) or pay the jailer 5000 gold. At the moment you cannot check your inventory or change your gear-you must escape prison before you get to change out of the ol' orange jumpsuit. Since that's the goal, let's get on with it, eh?
Open the door to your cell (using up a Skeleton Key) and head out into the hallway. You were in the north-western cell, and the smart guess is that you can't simply walk out the front door. Head to and unlock the south-eastern cell, which holds 'Ansell', Tomlin's father. So long as you have the 'Gardener's Permit' in your inventory he'll trust you and open up. He overheard a conversation between a royal aide and a nobleman, only to wind up under arrest for spying. Apparently it's dangerous working around paranoid folks. Anyways, he'll end up begging you to save him, and since you're already breaking out anyways, you might as well take him out with you...
Turn around and unlock door to the south-western cell, which uses up a third Skeleton Key. In this cell you'll find a tunnel heading south. Funny how they'd have a cell with an obvious escape tunnel in it... and that the duke's guard would be foolish enough to miss your Skeleton Keys. Best not dwell on where you hid them. Head down the tunnel and drop down a ledge to reach the sewers. Change your gear, since you can, and get ready to fight your way out. Don't worry, your foes are simple critters like Spiders, Large Rats, and Snakes. Head south to reach an east-west running tunnel, then turn east, since the west path is shortly a dead end. Kill pests until you get the chance to turn south again, where you'll find the gate that leads out of the sewers. Once out you'll immediately get a reward for completing 'Arousing Suspicion'.
|For escaping the dungeon||6,000 XP, 20 Rift Currency, 10,000 Gold|
You'll now find yourself in the slums beneath Gran Soren. Continue west to reach the 'aqueduct', which you should follow south. Eventually you'll reach Tomlin, and father and son will reunite. They'll babble for half an eternity before walking off. Once they escape the city, you'll get your quest reward... which is the same as for 'Arousing Suspicion'. Anyways, you flirted with the duke's wife, got caught, tortured, then escaped and took another criminal with you. Does anybody around Gran Soren care about any of this? Nope.
Anyways, you're done in Gran Soren for now. Fedel's quest, 'The Conspirators' as well as a notice board quest 'Parcel Service' both require you to go to a new area-near Greatwall, but more specifically, to Soulflayer Canyon. This gives you a great excuse to finally explore areas of north-western Gransys which have ignored up until now, like the Wilted Forest, Cursewood, Souflayer Canyon, Heavenspeak Fort, and the Barta Crags. But first, let's see to Ser Maximilian's request, which takes you to more well-known territory; the Catacombs.
|For rescuing Tomlin's father||6,000 XP, 10 Rift Currency, 20,000 Gold|
Note: After completing 'Arousing Suspicion' you'll be able to return to the 'Duchess' Bedchambers' any time thereafter, where you can score some loot by searching behind the screen (the one you hid behind when the duke went all nuts) and by searching under the bed. Does it seem odd that somebody who was thrown in the dungeon for supposedly trying to mess around with the duchess would later be allowed to walk freely into her bedchamber later? You must just have special status for being the Arisen; Duke Edmun sure isn't going to get off his ass and kill another Dragon.
|Lady's Corset||Silk Lingerie|
|Set of Servant's Garb|