I got a quest in Whiterun to free Thorold from the imperials. Being a "good-guy" player, I told his family I would try to rescue him without bloodshed, but when I get to the imperial outpost where he is being held, the guards tell me that the only way they would release any prisoner is with a writ from their superiors. As far as I can tell, there is no way to sneak into the prison, and the quest tracker does not update with a handy point of reference for where to get an Imperial Writ, so I'm stuck on this quest and have just put it on the backburner.
I'd really like to rescue Thorold, however, so I thought I'd see if anyone else had completed the quest successfully without just raiding the outpost?
Untrue. I'm not even a super high level and I just walked up to the back guard, darted past him, broke a few lock picks (maybe 6 or 7) on the master level lock to the keep. Snuck down the stairs, than ran past the guards like hell with them all chasing me blasting double healing spells on myself in between. Freed him, turned around and ran back the way I came! Had maybe a dozen soldiers chasing me and jumped into the water, swam to the other side, they only followed a short distance and gave up. So I killed the couple wolves on the little island, stray dog shows up, I run back to land to talk to Thorold, dog attacks the soldiers buying me enough time (with the exception of a few arrows to the head and neck) to burn past his conversation. Than ran back off into the distance with the dog following close behind. They couldn't keep up and than I fast traveled back to Whiterun and Taddaaaaahhhh... didn't kill anyone. And saved a stray dog. What a good guy..