You can usually find Arniel in the Hall of Attainment in the college of Winterhold. Ask him if you can assist with any college business. Keep in mind that you can’t start this quest unless you are the Archmage of the College of Winterhold. A full walk through to become the Archmage can be found here. He has his chambers in the second floor, you can find the stairs opposite the entrance of the hall. He will usually be somewhere around the college at day, but at night he can always be found in his bed.
Retrieving the Warped Soul Gem
This is the first quest that Arneil sends you on. Unfortunately the quest locations are random so I can’t provide you with an individual walk through of all of them. However the two that I went through both were straight forward and the only trouble I ran into were enemies. If you are struggling with the basic enemies I have written a guide to basic combat which you can find here.
I don’t remember whether I ran into this guy the first time I played this quest but in the second time I did. It is unusual to have named enemies in dungeons that you don’t always meet so I assume that he will be in the dungeon that you have to get through.
I found that Arondilis a very powerful mage. The difficulty with mages is to get near them because they often try to stay at range since their spells aren’t designed for close quarter combat. One good way to take care of mages is to sneak attack them with a bow and arrow but I didn’t have a bow at hand. Instead I used the Wabbajack to turn Arondil into a mudcrab and approached him then. The Wabbajack is very useful against powerful enemies. You can find a guide through the quest that will get you this staff here.
After you have delivered the soul gem Arniel will say that he will do some research. To move on with the quest you will have to wait for 24 hours and then talk to him again.
Heating the Warped Soul Gem
Arniel will ask you to use three Dwarven Convectors to heat the soul gem using a special spell he gives you called Arniel’s Convection. You will have to use this spell, any other fire spell will not work.
The best way to find the Warped Soul Gem is to go to the misc section of your inventory and look at the bottom for the letter w. The required spell should always be near the top of the destruction section of the magic menu.
Once you have returned the heated Warped Soul Gem Arniel will tell you that he will receive a delivery and then the experiment can begin. To move on with the quest you will have to leave the College of Winterhold and do some other stuff for around 2 days. I went around the place selling items to clear my inventory. If yours is already empty doing another quest might be a good idea. In fact there is a very fun quest I found called “Forbidden Legend” and you can find a guide here.
Once you get to Pinepeak Cavern, which you can find on the map shown below, you will face a lot of enemy magicians. As I said before they will keep at range and if you are set on using anything but a bow you will have to find a way to get close to them. Most mages in Pinepeak Cavern are low-level so you can just tank the damage.
When you have brought back Keening to Arniel the experiment will start. He will tell you to take a step backwards and he won’t be able to do his thing until you step out of his way. I stood right in front of the Warped Soul Gem and he just kept running at me and retreating until I stepped out of his way.
You will receive a new spell called “Summon Arniel’s Shade” which, as it says, will call Arniel’s shade to fight for you. I went to a Bandits camp and found him a useful distraction, but he didn’t deal a lot of damage.
Full Walk Through YouTube Video
Mind of Madness (acquiring the Wabbajack)