In Which Delga and Imperial Forces Regain Windhelm for the Empire

Super serious business session as this one was the one that saw the conclusion of the Reunification of Skyrim plot—i.e., the Imperial side of the civil war. By which I mean: the Imperial forces attacked Windhelm. And took down Ulfric Stormcloak.

Yowza.

Highlights

  • Started off at Eastmarch Imperial camp
  • Improved the ebony armor Tullius gave me up to Legendary, and handed that off to Lydia
  • Set out for Fort Amol
  • Critters killed en route: three total sabre cats, one skeever
  • Diseases gained from critters and then cured by potion: Witbane, off of one of the sabre cats
  • Dragons killed en route: two! Blood Dragon that was probably respawned Bonestrewn Crest dragon, as it didn’t generate a soul; and also, generic Dragon
  • Giant from Steamcrag camp got in on the fight with the Blood Dragon, since we were close enough to the camp that the dragon also tried to start shit with the giant to piss him off; Lydia had to take him down along with the dragon
  • Between the loot from the giant camp and bones and loot off of two dragons, heavily overloaded so it took a while to tromp over to Fort Amol; wound up having to give Lydia some of the dragon bones so I could quaff a potion of strength to get enough freedom to fight properly at the fort
  • Made it to Fort Amol; game took a few seconds to catch up and render the Imperial soldiers I had to rendezvous with to take the fort
  • And we took the fort!
  • Afterwards, since I knew I was nearby the Riverside Shack, decided to use it as a loot stash place
  • Imperials I’d just taken the fort with were back at their camp? Wut?
  • Killed the bear at Riverside Shack; unloaded a bunch of stuff in the chest there to get the carry weight down for a while
  • Boinged back to Eastmarch camp; got Legate Rikke’s orders to join the forces taking Windhelm
  • Ran to Windhelm because I wasn’t exactly sure where I needed to be
  • Critters killed on the way: wolf
  • NPCs ignored on the way: Vampire Masquerade NPCs; sorry, so-called “Vigilants”, can’t talk now, gotta go take over Windhelm
  • Came up on Windhelm under assault by catapults YOWZA; looked even more intense an attack than the one on Whiterun
  • Tullius was actually leading the assault! Good on him! He gave speech at the gates and then we charged in
  • Super close fighting; had to charge left through the market then up through the cemetery to find a way to get to the Palace of the Kings
  • Knocked down several barricades with Volendrung
  • Regularly swarmed by Stormcloaks and had trouble swinging the hammer without hitting Imperials
  • Finally made it to the palace and charged in with Tullius and Rikke
  • Tullius delivered his ultimatum; Ulfric and Galmar told him to fuck off and the fight was on
  • We took out Galmar and forced Ulfric to his knees
  • Ulfric asked for me to kill him because it’d make a better song; I told Tullius I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction
  • Because seriously, fuck that guy, why the hell should I let him have a glorious end of being slain by the Dragonborn?
  • Tullius went FINE BY ME and took him out
  • Tullius also then handed me his personal sword by way of gratitude for my aid in the battle
  • On the way out, had a long chat with Rikke in which she gave me her clearance to be more useful out in general Skyrim roaming (but to totally take out any Stormcloak resistance I find)
  • Tullius gave his speech to the troops; more than a few of the troops were all ‘we couldn’t have done this without you!’ at me, aw thanks guys <3
  • (Though I expect a bunch of the Stormcloak supporters in the game are now going to be super pissed at me, including the entire Gray-Mane family back in Whiterun, as well as the smiths in Windhelm)
  • Went back to Riverside Shack to recover my stash of stuff
  • On the grounds of “probably not a good idea to go right back to Windhelm to sell stuff”, took long Whirlwind Sprint jaunt back to Whiterun
  • Critters dispatched en route: skeever, wolf, spriggan + bear who’d taken out another hunter/lumberjack, sabre cat
  • NPCs dispatched in route: thief (“Bitch, I just literally fought every Stormcloak at Windhelm and helped my general kill Ulfric Stormcloak, stand down or face the consequences”; she faced the consequences)
  • Passed Fort Amol, oh good, the Imperial soldiers were properly on site again; no sign of a quartermaster though so I couldn’t stop there to sell stuff
  • Passed two Vigilants of Stendarr: “Wherever the Daedra hide, the Vigil of Stendarr will cast them into the light.” Have you all checked Oblivion? I’m pretty sure they’re all there. Or maybe underneath your couch cushions?
  • Valtheim Towers had respawned, and the toll bandit in fact interrupted my Whirlwind Sprint! “Fuck you, how about I don’t pay you a tool, and also don’t kill you?” Bandit declined my offer, so I took her out and took her stuff
  • Did not bother to engage the rest of the tower, already quite overloaded
  • Aspiring Mage still lying dead by the river 😢
  • Made it back into Whiterun, only surprise, Hadvar appeared out of nowhere, and followed me around with his sword drawn? Wiki says this is apparently a known bug with him?
  • Followed wiki’s advice to save while standing right next to Hadvar, then reload from that save; this worked, it apparently triggered the necessary routine to get him to go home to Riverwood where he’s supposed to be for the rest of the game
  • Proceeded to do a bunch of smithing at Warmaiden’s and sold a bunch of stuff at Drunken Huntsman
  • Quaffed a Solution of Strength and boinged to Lakeview to drop off a bunch of things
  • Set both my suits of Imperial armor on the mannequins in the armory
  • Consolidated stock of dragon bones and stashed them all in the chest by the cellar forge
  • Grabbed items necessary to finally build the enchanter in this house, and did so; dropped Fortify Archery enchantment on my ebony helmet
  • Shelved several of the books I was carrying (at least the ones that weren’t quest items)
  • Put clothes away in the wardrobe by the enchanter
  • Boinged back to Western Watchtower
  • Sold a few items to Khajiit outside the Whiterun gates
  • Got in three rounds of sneak training with Khayla; that got me leveled up to 41, and I took a sneak perk; this is essentially Delga grimly acknowledging that if the world keeps expecting her to do stealthy things, she needs to be good at it
  • Headed into the city and stopped at Jorrvaskr; got a couple rounds of archery training with Aela
  • Took the carriage to Riften
  • Maven Black-Briar is now Jarl! But she didn’t have the option for me to be thane of the Rift again
  • Boinged back to Whiterun; re-read “Shipment’s Ready” note to see if that did anything to trigger reporting back to Maven, but nope, I don’t think I’m able to re-trigger the conditions necessary to get Maven on board with re-thaning me?
  • Grabbed items out of the bedroom chest; boinged back to Lakeview to finish consolidating stock of dragon bones and centurion dynamo cores
  • Boinged up to Shrine of Azura to stop by Winterhold
  • Came out of fast travel to the slightly alarming sight of two dragons in the air, but neither of them landed
  • Other critters killed: four wolves, two frost trolls
  • Reached Winterhold and stopped at new Jarl Kraldar’s longhouse; I liked his guy! Got him to re-instate me as Winterhold thane
  • Went back towards shrine to poke around and see if I could find those dragons; answer, no
  • Other critters killed: two more frost trolls, snowy sabre cat
  • Mined three iron veins
  • Reached the road that leads north to Winterhold, and headed south along the road and veered west towards Fort Kastav because now I can
  • Headed towards Dawnstar
  • Encounters that didn’t involve fighting: painted cow, giant (heard but not seen), Khajiit caravan traveling on foot
  • Stopped in front of the Windpeak Inn and saved for the night

Reunification of Skyrim quest, and the assault on Windhelm

How boy that was an intense session. Almost to the same level of intensity as the fights with Alduin!

It says something about the tone of a play session when the appetizer is killing not one but two dragons, and then taking over a fort full of Stormcloaks. The main course, the assault on Windhelm and then execution of Ulfric Stormcloak?

Fantastic.

I really liked that Tullius actually showed up to lead the assault on Windhelm himself, after he spent most of the war plot just hanging out in Solitude and being there for when I needed to report to him for promotions and new orders. Speaks well of a leader who actually shows up to lead major battles, and throws himself right into the thick of things to fight right alongside his troops.

I was already kind of partial to Tullius as a character, just because he’s voiced by Michael Hogan. I knew of Hogan from Battlestar Galactica, since he’s a splendid Colonel Tigh in that show. (It did mean though that every time he delivered a line I kept wanting him to yell for deploying additional viper pilots out to destroy the Cylons!)

His participation in the assault on Windhelm, though, kicked my respect for the character up another level. ❤️

As for the actual fight through Windhelm: I had had a taste of how this would go, what with the assault on Whiterun. After two playthroughs in this game, I’ve gotten pretty familiar with all of the major cities. And there is a definite emotional gut-punch for me to see any of those cities under major attack. Even Windhelm!

And unlike Whiterun, where all the fighting was outside the main Whiterun gates, this battle tore through Windhelm’s streets. Which, for those of you who don’t know the game, are pretty narrow and twisty. The city is a bit of a maze to maneuver through.

Which means that, given that the battle generated an endless wave of Stormcloaks to swarm up against the Imperial attackers, all the fighting was in very close quarters. I barely had enough room to swing Volendrung around, and I had to be careful not to hit Imperials as well as Stormcloaks. I’m not sure I was entirely successful; I did periodically hear someone yelling, “I’m on your side!” (Sounded like Lydia, but wasn’t sure it was her or not? It was tough to tell!)

I got a distinct amount of satisfaction, though, about being able to use the hammer to smash through barricades that the Stormcloaks had put up to try to slow down advances towards the palace. Which I absolutely had to do, because a lot of debris blocked the main access route to the Palace of the Kings!

My fellow Imperials caught on when I found the alternate route towards the palace, too. They were not far behind me as I charged in towards the palace’s front doors.

And inside the palace, Tullius and Rikke came in with me and Tullius delivered his ultimatum. This was the critical climax, and Ulfric and Galmar did not disappoint in putting up valiant fights.

When Ulfric asked for me specifically to kill him, because “it’ll make a better song”, I declined. On general grounds of “fuck you, asshole, I’m not going to give you the satisfaction.” Tullius was entirely fine with that, and executed Ulfric himself.

I told Dara about this, and she asked me what you get to say when Ulfric asks for you to be the one to kill him. She says she thinks “I kill dragons, not insects” should have been an option. She is right! I don’t think Delga would have said that to Ulfric, but Merawen? Merawen would totally have said it. :D

(Sidebar here: Ulfric clearly knew I was Dragonborn! Who the hell told Ulfric I’m Dragonborn? I didn’t! LOL, this is another indicator of how word of who I am clearly shoots around Skyrim regardless of what I’m doing or not doing to facilitate it. There are amusing implications here though of whether Ulfric heard it from general population gossip—and whether he had spies anywhere who specifically managed to identify me. Not only “yes, my Jarl, there is a Dragonborn” but also “and she’s an orc!”

That had to raise quite a few eyebrows amongst the Stormcloaks! Yes, you assholes, the living representative of one of the Nords’ sacred traditions is an Orsimer. Go think about what Akatosh is trying to tell you about this!)

Tullius giving me his personal blade by way of a token of appreciation was a nice touch too! As was his final speech to the troops outside, and various of those troops specifically addressing me and enthusing, “We couldn’t have done it without you!”

Aw, thanks guys. I like you too. ❤️

I’m a little sorry I didn’t get a chance to get any final conversation out of Tullius before he walked off. The wiki says he would have told me much of the same stuff Rikke did when I talked to her. But there was one choice tidbit in what the wiki quoted that caught my eye:

“The fiercest of the remaining rebels will continue to harass us, but by and large, the people here desire peace. What I’m not so sure about is the peace we’ve made with the Thalmor. But we’ll keep that between the two of us, alright?”

LOLOLOLOL. So even the leader of the Imperial forces thinks the Thalmor are assholes.

I did however get conversation out of Legate Rikke. And I’ll note that my eyebrows went up at a couple of little exchanges she has with Tullius! She reminds him that Nords go to Sovngarde when they die.

And she also tells him “Talos be with you” and very hastily walks that back when he goes “What was that, Legate?” O RLY. Rikke is a closet Talos worshipper? HA!

All in all, very glad I did this. Not only for it being an exciting play experience, but also for the interesting character fodder for Tullius and Rikke!

But boy howdy are the strident Stormcloak supporters in the game going to be super-pissed at me for the rest of this run. 😊

Epilogue

After all that action, I was a little bit at sea as to what I wanted to do next! So I decided a little light smithing and rearranging of all my loot was in order.

Which led me to triggering the weird bug with Hadvar, who just showed up out of nowhere as soon as I made it back to Whiterun. It was however a refreshing change of pace that this, unlike many of the bugs in Skyrim, had a workaround I could implement even on the Switch.

(Because look, Hadvar, dude, I like you! But I don’t want you following me around and spouting dialogue every three seconds! Go home, dude! War’s over!)

Got all my extraneous stuff moved off to Lakeview now, anyway. The Imperial armor I put up on mannequins in the armory there. The Stormcloak armor I stole, though, I stashed that in an end table in the cellar forge. Because that armor? Fuck that armor. I’m not putting it on display. It might eventually make useful rags and scraps for forging work though!

Last but not least, I decided I’d make a circuit around the various holds that were retaken by the Empire, and see what I could do about reinstating my status of thane where I’d been thane before.

This does not appear to be an option in Riften? Maven Black-Briar didn’t offer me the relevant dialogue prompt. Poked around on the wiki to look this up, and it seems like the root cause of this is that the circumstances by which you become thane in Riften are triggered by the whole “defeat the skooma dealers” plot. Which is not repeatable.

I may be able to trigger Maven inviting me to be her thane if I do more favor quests in Riften, I don’t know? I’m going to try it out and see if I can get that to work. If not, I’ll be okay with that. I do already have Honeyside and Iona as my housecarl. I think I can live without being part of Maven Black-Briar’s court this time around!

I did however get re-instated as thane in Winterhold! And yeah, I like the new Jarl, Kraldar! He’s very friendly and pro-mage-college. This’ll be a guy I’ll be happy to headcanon telling “hey, just so you know, I’m joining the college!” And later on: “My Jarl, guess what! I’m Arch-Mage now! Let’s work together to rebuild Winterhold!”

Next time

Going to run the nightmares plot in Dawnstar and, time permitting, the favor quests to get the new Jarl in Dawnstar to make me her thane! That ought to make for a pretty busy session right there.

Screenshots