Skyrim: Accepting Your Fate as the Dragonborn
Your Skyrim Journey Begins
You will start your game out by riding down a path in a dilapidated cart. Across from you are two prisoners just like you. You were caught trying to cross the border, but at the same time, two Nord rebels have been arrested for treason against the High King of Skyrim. This is your introduction to Ralof of the Stormcloaks, along with an unnamed, bound stranger and someone else who was caught in the crossfire.
General Tallius of the Imperial guard is at the gate of the town you are being brought to, and he lets your small caravan of criminals into the town of Helgen. Little do you know what your supposed fate is until you reach an area of stone with a chopping block.
Once it becomes your turn, approach the guard and choose your class and appearance. Choose wisely, because the race you choose now will affect you for the rest of your game.
(Please take a look at our Detailed Breakdown of the Elf, Human and Outcast Races of Skyrim for more information.)
- Make your way to the Keep
- Enter the Keep with Hadvar or Ralof
- Escape Helgen
- Find some equipment
- Loot Gunjar’s body
- (Optional) Search the barrel for potions
- (Optional) Attempt to pick the lock to the cage
Once you have decided on your class and appearance, follow the captain to the crowd and watch the Imperial Soldier talk down to your friend in your cart, who is now identified as Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the rebellion. Just as it becomes your turn, a dragon sweeps down and saves you from your pitiful destiny.
As soon as you can move, follow Ralof into a tower to take cover. Follow him until a dragon named Alduin busts through the tower wall and breathes fire through the staircase.
Jump through the hole in the wall to the Inn at the east, and make your way to the bottom floor of the Inn and then outside where you will see some guards staring down a dragon, who takes flight soon after. Stay behind Hadvar as he leads you to safety and searches for General Tallius.
At the keep, make the choice to follow either Hadvar (Imperial Army) or Ralof (Stormcloaks) into the side of the tower. This choice affects what you see for the rest of the quest and also who you are initially friends within the civil war questline, but you are free to change sides after this quest if you decide to help the other party.
Head into the tower and have your companion take off the binding around your hands. Search through some nearby areas to find some armor and weapons, and then choose what kinds of items and/or spells you would like to start with by visiting your menu screen and equipping things.
Drop whatever items you are not using and equip whatever you are, then follow your companion through the halls, defeating any enemies while picking up any valuable items from corpses and in the area around you. Make it a habit now to loot everything you see and to look on shelves, tables, bookshelves, and in boxes, barrels, and chests. Riches don’t come from your fallen enemies alone.
As you delve deeper into the caves below, you will fight your way into a spider lair and eventually come across a bear. Sneak past the bear if you want, or take him down with a fire spell or weapon of choice. You can use this opportunity to raise your sneak spell by sneaking past the bear and behind your companion through the cave.
As you make your way out of the cave, a dragon flies by and your companion leaves you. Now you are free to explore Skyrim on your own or continue to follow the main questline as you like.
Now would be a great time to become acquainted with the over map and learn what the icons mean. Once you are comfortable with navigation, make your way by foot to the nearby village of Riverwood.
Unbound Video Walkthrough
Before the Storm Walkthrough
- Talk to Alvor in Riverwood
- Talk to Gerdur in Riverwood
- Talk to the Jarl of Whiterun
Make your way to Riverwood, south of Whiterun in the Whiterun Hold of Skyrim. If you are new to the game, it is wise to follow your companion that you were with while escaping from Helgen, but you are free to go your own way and go wherever you want.
If you do follow your companion from the cave, you will make your way up a river path and to the Guardian Stones, which possess blessings that you can choose to help your character. These Stones help you learn skills faster, but you can only have one blessing at a time. Obviously, pick the Stone that most fits in with your character’s current play style, whether it be in stealth, magic, or combat.
There are other Standing Stones around Skyrim that have other powerful blessings, but be warned: any new blessing that you accept from another Stone replaces the one you currently have.
Meet your companion and his uncle at the smithing area of Riverwood, so you can speak about what is going on in Skyrim. The uncle has some things he offers to give you, including a garnet and some potions. Take what you need and head for Whiterun to speak with the Jarl.
NOTE: Make sure that you pick up the side quest: The Golden Claw from the Riverwood Trader before you head to Bleak Falls Barrow for the next quest. It is not necessary to this particular quest but will help you access another part of the dungeon you can’t otherwise. You can also pick up a quest on the outskirts of Whiterun that will start you on another questline with the Companions.
When you arrive in Whiterun, a guard will stop you. Convince him to let you through and make your way up to Dragonsreach, where the Jarl holds court. Speak with him and ask him to send help for Riverwood. He will give you a token of gratitude and ask you to speak with the court wizard.
Before the Storm Video Walkthrough
Bleak Falls Barrow Walkthrough
- Talk to Farengar
- Retrieve the Dragonstone
- Deliver the Dragonstone to Farengar
Find Farengar Secret-Fire and he will ask you to head to Bleak Falls Barrow to find a stone tablet, also known as a Dragonstone. Bleak Falls Barrow is north of Riverwood, so travel to the town and take the path heading out.
Head into Bleak Falls Barrow and make your way to the first puzzle of the dungeon, a stone puzzle that has to match the opposing picture (Solution: Snake, Snake, Whale).
You’ll come across a Dark Elf who has been trapped by a Frostbite Spider. Release him and he runs away towards some special treasure that's deeper in the dungeon, bent on reaching it before you do. Battle through some Draugr that defeat your fleeing friend and get to the dead body when all is clear.
Take the Golden Claw and Arvel’s Journal off of him and read it if you want. Continue on, being careful of swinging traps and Draugr along the way. Find the entrance to the Bleak Falls Sanctum and go in.
More Draugr are in this area, so keep fighting through until you get to a door guarded by a puzzle. Take a look at the Golden Claw and notice that the answer is on the wrist. Spin the circles in the door to match the claw and activate the door with the Golden Claw (Solution from top to bottom: Bear, Moth Owl). It will open up and lead you into a chamber that holds a Word of Power and a group of Draugrs.
After defeating your enemies, search the Draugr and collect the Dragonstone that you came for. At this time, you cannot unlock the Word of Power without defeating a dragon, so hold tight. It will happen soon.
Return to Dragonsreach and give the Dragonstone to Farengar. Speak to the Jarl for your reward and to begin your next quest: killing your first dragon.
NOTE: If you return to the Riverwood Trader with the Golden Claw from Bleak Falls Barrow, you will receive a gold reward based on your level.
Bleak Falls Barrow Video Walkthrough
Dragon Rising Walkthrough
- Talk to Jarl Balgruuf
- Meet Irileth near the Western Watchtower
- Kill the dragon
- Investigate the dragon
- Report back to Jarl Balgruuf
- (Optional) Use your new Shout power
The Jarl of Whiterun informs you that there has been a dragon sighted at the Western Watchtower, and he wants you to help defeat it. He gives you more armor and sends you with some guards to help.
Head to the Western Watchtower marked on your map and notice the damage already done. The dragon is still there and ready to eat you too!
Take out a bow and start shooting the dragon until he dies, then approach the body of the dragon for a surprising twist. You’ve just absorbed your first dragon soul, and everyone is amazed.
Now would be a good time to unlock your first dragon shout in your magic menu by using the dragon soul to learn the Word of Power that you found in Bleak Falls Barrow.
Head back to the Jarl and explain what happened. If you didn’t notice the large, booming call that came after you defeated the dragon, the Jarl informs you that it was the call of the Greybeards. This group of monks lives in the high mountain village of High Hrothgar, where they learn and practice the Way of the Voice.
Best not keep them waiting!
Dragon Rising Video Walkthrough
The Way of the Voice Walkthrough
- Speak to the Greybeards
- Demonstrate your “Unrelenting Force” Shout
- Speak to Arngeir
- Learn the Word of Power from Einarth
- Demonstrate your “Unrelenting Force” Shout (x3)
- Learn the Word of Power from Borri
- Demonstrate your “Whirlwind Sprint” Shout
- Speak to Arngeir for further training
To find your way up the mountain to High Hrothgar, there is an easy way and a hard way. The easy way is to travel to Ivarstead by a path east of Whiterun and travel up the mountain path nearby. The hard way involves climbing up the cliffs yourself.
Either way, when you reach High Hrothgar, the leader of the Greybeards will ask you to use your shout to prove you are the warrior they called.
Use your shout and Arngeir will be so impressed and will wish to teach you a little more about the Greybeards’ way of life. Arngeir asks another monk to teach you a new Word of Power for your shout Unrelenting Force.
You are what is known as the Dragonborn, a human born with the soul of the dragon and the ability to speak their ancient language.
After learning Ro (Balance) to add to Fus (Force) from Einarth, you are asked to demonstrate your new, more powerful Shout. Equip it in your menu and hit him with it three times, and he will direct you to meet Borri for a completely new Word of Power for the Shout Whirlwind Sprint.
After you demonstrate your ability to use your new Shout by traveling through a closing door in the area, you can approach Arngeir for more information. You need to find the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller to be considered worthy of being a Greybeard.
The Way of the Voice Video Walkthrough
The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller Walkthrough
- Retrieve the horn
- Meet with whoever took the horn
- Return the horn to Arngeir
- Learn the Word of Power from Wulfgar
- Receive the Greybeards’ greeting
Find your new quest marker for the village of Ustengrav in Hjaalmarch Hold. You will be confronted with Bandits and Necromancers at first in this dungeon, so be prepared for magic attacks until those enemies are killed by Draugrs.
Find your way to a small crypt that has a chain to pull, opening up the way to the large hall and a bridge to cross. Open the door to Ustengrav Depths and make your way into the large grotto area.
If you travel down the ledges to the bottom of the area, you will find a banquet hall. Head south and cross the bridge to leave the hall, then explore the corridors leading to another large grotto area. Defeat the enemies below and find the wall for a new Word of Power for the Shout-Become Ethereal.Defeat the Draugrs that emerge, then head back to the throne room.
Cross the large bridge heading up and clear the enemies to find a puzzle area blocking your path. In order to get through all the doors, you must quickly use the Shout-Whirlwind Sprint through each boundary.
Once through, navigate the fire traps on the floor and open the wooden door to the east covered in cobwebs. Pull the chain to open the door to the crypt of Jurgen Windcaller.
Approach the coffin to find that the Horn has been stolen, replaced by a note to go to the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood. You can make a quick exit through the wooden door behind the sarcophagus when you are done with the area.
NOTE: The quest “Retrieve the Horn” is going to be failed regardless of your actions. Do not be alarmed.
Head to the Inn in Riverwood and rent a room from the innkeeper, Delphine. Enter the room and Delphine will follow, aware that you are the one she has been waiting for. She gives you the Horn.
Return to High Hrothgar and speak with Arngeir. He comments that now that you have the Horn, you must be officially recognized by the Greybeards. You are taught another Word of Power, Dah (Push), the final word of the Shout-Unrelenting Force.
Now you must stand in the center of the room and be shouted at by a bunch of monks with long beards, a ritual passed down for generations. Now you are an official member of the Greybeards and have access to all of High Hrothgar.
Every 36 hours you can speak with Argneir for a new Word of Power to meditate on, and if you wish, you can return to the Tomb of Jurgen Windcaller and put the Horn in its place to get a free dragon soul to spend on another Shout.
The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller Video Walkthrough
This walkthrough is part one of a three-part series covering the main quests in Skyrim.
To continue on your journey, please go to part two: Finding the Thalmor Embassy and Alduin’s Wall.
Once you have completed part two, you will find a link to part three: Finding the Elder Scroll and Defeating Alduin.
The Dragonborn Comes
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© 2018 Hal Gall