Skyrim: Rorikstead Is a Dragon Cult

Updated on July 31, 2018
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Disastrous Grape is from a dimension of sentient exploding fruit, and is author of the novels The Thieves of Nottica and Time's Arrow.

Most fans think something creepy is going on with Rorkistead, a sleepy little town on the edge of Whiterun. The fandom has been speculating for years, and long arguments on the forums are common enough even to this day.

As someone who's been playing Skyrim for years, I have developed my own personal theory about just what is going on in this little town.

The people there have an uncommonly wealthy harvest even though the soil is utter crap, and when asked about it, the town leaders brush it off.

What's more, the little town is in the open, in the middle of no where, without much protection in the way of guards or walls. It is surrounded on all sides by Forsworn and giants and wild cats and yet . . . it stands unharmed, twinkling innocently in the drowsy dusk.

Until the dragons start waking up, Rorikstead is pretty much ignored by everyone and everything, even though it should be good pickin's for wandering bands of thugs. It's my belief that the town has been blessed by Akatosh, who requires the ritual sacrifice of a fertile woman's blood.

Rorik and Jouane Are Behind it All

Rorik and Jouane are lovers and both are thousands of years old through the ritualistic fertility sacrifice of Nord women to Akatosh.

In return for the sacrifice of female blood, the crops in Rorikstead thrive and the village is virtually protected, while Rorik and Jouane go on living for thousands of years.

It's mentioned in the lore somewhere (in one of the books, I think) that Rorikstead existed thousands of years ago as "Rorik Steading" and yet when the player meets Rorik in Rorikstead, he says he founded the town and that it's named after him.

There's a dragon burial mound near Rokistead. It's even called "Rokistead's Resurrection" and has offerings left on it.

This creepy asshole.
This creepy asshole.

Jouane Manette is probably a Forsworn mage. There are Forsworn very near Rokristead that seem on friendly terms with the town (meaning, they don't attack it). Also, he's a Breton.

If you break in Rorik Manor, which Jouane shares with Rorik, you'll find a book on daedra behind the bar.

If asked about the oddly flourishing crop, Jouane gets defensive, then cheerfully dismissive.

Reldith is the only woman alive in Rorikstead, possibly because she's an elf and not a Nord.

It is also notable that Sissel and Britte's mother supposedly "died in childbirth" according to Lemkil, while Erik the Slayer's mother died "when he was little."

Every young Nord in Rorikstead is motherless and every Nord male is a widower. Seems like the women are sacrificed at the height of their fertility, after they have proven they can bear children.

Sissel is Next

This gives us people with Hearthfire more incentive to adopt Sissel now, doesn't it? I mean, aside from the fact that Lemkil, her father, is an abusive alcoholic.

Sissel claims to have dreams of an old, gray dragon who is "nice."

"I had a dream that there was a good dragon. He was old and gray, but he wasn't scary."

She also can be overheard talking with Jouane about her "training" in a magic ritual.

"Someday soon I'll stop being afraid. Jouane is teaching me magic. He says I'm real good."

Jouane scolds her and tells her to keep quiet about it, as no one is supposed to know.

Sissel: "Jouane?"

Jouane: "Yes, child?"

Sissel: "I was just wondering. The next time we meet, do you think maybe you could teach me some fire magic? Nothing dangerous! Maybe a candle lighting spell?"

Jouane: "By the Eight, keep your voice down! Do you want the entire village to learn our secrets?"

Sissel: "Oh! I'm... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."

Jouane: "Shh shh. It's fine, child. It's fine. But we must be cautious, hmm? What we do, the things I teach you. The others wouldn't understand."

Sissel: "I understand. I'm sorry. I just get so excited thinking about it. So... can we. Do some fire magic?"

Jouane: "Hmph. Most certainly not. But perhaps I can teach you how to put some candles out. We'll start there."

Sissel: "Oooh, wonderful! I can't wait!"

Jouane: "Today I'll teach you a useful spell that might just save your life. If you should ever fall into a river, you'll be very glad you learned it."

Sissel: "Oh! Are you going to teach me how to turn into a mud crab?"

Jouane: "Oh, it's much better than that. I will teach you how to breathe underwater, with no need to turn into one of those ugly creatures."

Sissel: "Wow! Then I could dive into a river and swim so far away that Britte and father could never find me."

Jouane: "Now, clear your mind and breathe deeply. Good concentration is very important for spellcasting."

I don't think Sissel is merely being trained in magic. I think she's being prepared for a ritualistic sacrifice to Akatosh, who protects Rorikstead and allows it to so miraculously thrive. Sissel was chosen instead of her sister Britte, possibly because Britte is a bitch.

The Forsworn worship Dibella, you say? The Forsworn don't worship Akatosh, you say? I believe everyone in Elder Scrolls worships Akatosh. They just call it by a different name. That, or Jouane is a deviant who decided to start worshiping dragons instead of Dibella.

Soul Gems are in Abundance

Every house in Rorikstead has a soul gem, as if to trap the spirits of the women who were sacrificed.

Everyone except Lemkil, who may have actually loved his wife enough to let her spirit go free (despite the fact that he's an abusive alcoholic asshole). Or maybe the soul of Lemkil's wife was indeed trapped by a soul gem, which is sitting in Rorik's house while he is unaware and too bitter and drunk to find out the truth.

Meanwhile, Ennis and Reldith are quietly compliant because -- while they can't participate not being Nords -- they still benefit from the sacrifices. They have a soul gem in their house as well. Maybe it's the gem that captured Lemkil's wife in the Soul Cairn . . . *shudder.*

Yeah. The first time is saw Lokir die, I laughed my ass off.

Then I got to Rorikstead and I understood why the heck he was running, panicky and neurotic guy that he was. He prayed for the gods to save him, and what's ironic is that they answered. Alduin showed up, and he could have made a run for it if he hadn't committed Suicide by Archer. As I said on another article of mine, Skyrim is all about irony.

Rorik and Juoane made ritual sacrifices to the dragons for thousands of years to gain their protection, only to have the dragons wake up and attack their village.

© 2018 Ash Gray

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