Warning! This is a very long quest that occurs over a period of time. If you're focusing on just this questline, then we recommend waiting to fast forward the time needed to trigger the next request from Ralis . You'll also need alot of gold, so be sure to have a total of 11,000 gold spare to complete all of this quest!
The quest can be activated by speaking to Ralis Sedarys who can be found at the ruins of Kolbjorn Barrow.
After speaking with Ralis, he will ask to help funding his excavation. This will cost 1,000 gold . After a few days a letter from Ralis will be delivered by a courier asking help back at the ruins. Speaking with Ralis will reveal that draugr have been awakened and the workers have been killed.
In order to continue the excavation, all draugr must be dealt with. Ralis also requests scouting for a passage deeper into the ruins. While clearing the barrow, it is possible to access a larger chamber containing Ahzidal's Boots of Waterwalking on a pedestal. This room can be opened by moving a strangely marked skull on the center table.
After the ruin has been cleared, Ralis will request another donation. This time he will ask for 2,000 gold . After some time has passed, a courier will deliver another letter asking the Dragonborn to return to the ruin. It turns out all the miners were again killed as they dug deeper into the mine. Ralis requires the draugr to be killed so that the expedition can continue.
Head into the mine and defeat any remaining draugr. In addition search for the missing miners. The corpses of Bradyn and Mireli, among the other miners, can be found. In the last section of the mine near the corpse of Mireli is a handle that can be turned to reveal a secret area.
Ahzidal's Ring of Necromancy is here on a pedestal. There is also a doorway blocked by two portculis with four handles on the right hand side. Pulling the second releases a dart trap. Pulling the first opens the first only, pull the third and fourth as well opens both.
The faint chanting of a nearby Word Wall can be heard, but it is buried under the rubble in the main room and cannot be reached yet.
Once the search is complete, return to Ralis and inform him the miners are dead. He will mention that the next step of investment will cost 3,000 gold as he plans to hire some mercenaries to watch over the miners.
After some time has passed, a courier will deliver a third letter asking the Dragonborn to return to the ruin. Much like last time, several draugr awakened as the miners dug deeper into the mine. Ralis requires the draugr to be killed so that the digging can continue.
Head into the mine and defeat any remaining draugr. Much more of the mine has been dug out at this point and in the north east section a chain can be pulled to reveal a hidden room where the Ahzidal's Gauntlets of Warding are on a pedestal. Head down a stairway past a falling rock trap and into a large chamber where the last few draugr are found. In addition several dead miners and Kolbjorn guards are here too.
In the center of the room is a strange series of pressure pads that emit a blue glow when stood upon, however the light fades after a few seconds. Lighting all of the plates at once will open the gate on the left, where Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana lies on a pedestal. This can be done by running across all the plates quickly before their lights go out. The Slow Time shout can be helpful here. Telekinesis can be used to grab the ring without opening the gate.
Once the draugr are defeated, return to Ralis and inform him of the situation. He will mention that the next step of investment will cost 5,000 gold as they have gained quite a reputation. He plans to hire some stronger mercenaries this time.
After some time has passed, a courier will deliver a final letter asking to return to the ruin. Upon arrival at the campsite outside the ruin it appears there has been some sort of massacre as the corpses of several miners are strewn about. Reading The Journal of Ralis Sedarys - Volume 23 , found on a table in a tent, reveals the chilling fate of the miners and Ralis' true intention all along.
Head into the mine to find it has been heavily excavated. The once buried Dragon Shout Wall is now fully visible and a word of the Cyclone Shout can be learned from it. Proceed deeper into the mine defeating the various draugr along the way. Once the room with the pressure plates has been reached, a staircase can be seen on the north west side leading down.
This next room contains three sleeping draugr on thrones and a pillar puzzle. Once the draugr are defeated, there are two options: either open the grate in the middle of the room or the gate on the right. The chains on opposite side of the wall reveal a clue to the puzzle. To open the gate, align both pillars behind the throne to the whale totem. The gate will raise to reveal Ahzidal's Armor of Retribution sitting on a pedestal.
To open the grate, align both pillars to the hawk and head down the spiral stairway. Down here are more draugr and another pillar puzzle. Pulling the chain with the incorrect symbols will send flames out of the wall that may ignite the oil on the floor. The correct alignment is two snake symbols. The gate will open to reveal Ahzidal's Helm of Vision sitting on a pedestal. Taking the helm will cause the pedestal to shoot out a powerful jet of fire. Head back along the caves, past a sarcophagus containing Stalhrim into the final area where Ralis is located.
A Rude Awakening
Ralis will be found in the middle of the room attempting to summon the Dragon Priest Ahzidal . He is successful as the ground shakes and he is flung to one side as the priest emerges and battle begins.
During the battle several Draugr burst out of the surrounding sarcophagi to aid Ahzidal. If the Draugr are killed, others will awaken to take their place. He may also raise the corpses of defeated Draugr and miners found lying dead in the chamber. Ahzidal primarily uses fire based Destruction spells including a unique pulse of fire that cause large amounts of damage. Once he has been defeated his ash pile can be searched for his mask.
Choosing to kill Ralis will result in him becoming hostile and fighting back. Choosing to spare Ralis will cause him to run out of the ruin and back to The Retching Netch in Raven Rock. Either option completes the quest. Upon exiting the ruins, the entire campsite will be gone.
The Black Book Filament and Filigree is available after going through a tunnel that opens up in the back of the room where Azhidal is fought.
Continuing on the path past the room with the Black Book, at the end of the short tunnel, there is a Stalhrim deposit in a sarcophagus behind the passage opened by the lever (which is to the right as the Dragonborn enters; the deposit is to the left).