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I wandered up quite far north to the burning house before visiting Driftwood. I saw Gareth in there speaking to someone but didn't go near or interact. After visiting Meistr Siva in Driftwood, I went back to the house and no one is there. I feel like I missed something.
First Appear (Before Discover 'Paradise Down') : the burning house
I can't do anything any more. I have Jonathan's ring and gloves but Gareth just keep a digging and the guards tell me to go away. What am I missing? Oh, and if I kill the guards Gareth accuses me of the murder...havent tried killing the guards while I have the gloves though...do I have to kill them?
If you speak to Gareth at his family farm first when he is burying his parents, you can simply pass a persuasion check to finish the quest and receive 8075 XP. This guide makes no mention of such a simple ending.
You have to say "Lucian might be gone, but you're still here for him" to open up this option.
Actually a few of the dialogue options lead to the persuasion checks
Are there any pros and cons to killing the silent monks inside the farmhouse? There is nothing mentioned about this. To convince the paladins to allow you to enter, it requires either one of two Wits checks or a Constitution / Memory / Intelligence persuasion check, depending on your dialogue choices.
It seems if you wait too long to start this quest, Gareth will be burying his parents at the farmhouse. If you go directly to the burning house from the Hen house / Gallows area shortly after arriving, then you can start the quest there.
This is so*****. It's one of the reasons why I like divinity, there wasn't time based things in it. Just because I left the game open for so long doing other things and slowly doing some other quests his parents die? Eaurgh.
Clearly ! I've done several quests before heading to the burning farm and no Gareth, no Magister. I started the quest with Gareth burying his parents.
Upon entering the house with the monks, Gareth will rush in and ask why you haven't killed them yet. You can convince him here with a persuasion check (same checks are available as when speaking to him outside). If you pass the check, the quest will be over.
If you kill White Magister Jonathan for Gareth when he is standing over his unconscious and convince him to relax on the ship his parents won't die and will be at the family farm. You cannot interact with them and they cower behind a cart. Jonathan is than replaced by White Magister Kari in the blackpits interrogating Gwydian Rince.

....this happened to me. But how can I close the quest then?
i got a bit stuck here couldn't pass dialoge checks and Gareth and both guards says -end- no other option.
after doing some quest and pass there again i've tryed to unlock the door with lockpick (speak to a guard to change his line of sight and lockpick with other char from behind) after opening the door both guards go away and Gareth comes into the house.
I just went straight to the farm persuaded him to drop the matter...