TES5 Skyrim: Season Unending (Optional)

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This quest only plays out if the player has not yet completed the Civil War questline.


(I return to High Hrothgar to present the proposition of a peace conference to the Greybeards. I already know Arngeir is not going to like this idea. I find the old monk meditating in the main hall)

Arngeir

Alduin… we heard the Dragonrend Shout from here… you defeated him?

Player

Yes, but he escaped. I need to find his portal to Sovngarde

Arngeir

I feared as much. I thought it was him we saw flying east after your battle.

Player

I need your help. I need to capture a dragon.

Arngeir

We are not warriors. What is overlooked in the Dragonborn is not permitted to any other followers of the Way of the Voice.

Player

I’ll worry about capturing a dragon. I need your help to stop the war.

Arngeir

You misunderstand our authority. The Greybeards have never involved themselves in political affairs.

Player

Jarl Balgruuf won’t help me while the war rages.

Arngeir

I see. The dragon will lead you to Alduin, but without the Jarl’s help…

Player

Both sides respect the Greybeards. They will listen.

Arngeir

Paarthurnax has made the decision to help you. This is the road we have to walk.

Even the Greybeards must bend to the winds of change, it seems.

So be it. Tell Ulfric and General Tullius that the Greybeards wish to speak to them.

We will see if they still remember us.

Player

Where has Alduin gone?

Arngeir

The old tales say that he can travel to Sovngarde to devour the souls of the dead.

You must find out how he does this, before he regains his strength and returns.

Player

Are you ready to host the peace council?

Arngeir

Deliver the message to the warring parties. If they will listen, I will do what I can to bring them to terms.

(after leaving High Hrothgar, I journey first to Windhelm to speak with Ulfric)

Player

I have a message from the Greybeards.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

It’s about time they turned their gaze from the heavens, back to our bleeding homeland. What do they want?

Player

They want to negotiate a truce until the dragon menace is dealt with.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

I have the greatest respect for the Greybeards, of course. And the dragon attacks are a growing plague.

But the political situation is still delicate. Not all the Jarls are fully committed to supporting me as High King.

I can’t afford to appear weak. I can’t agree to this unless Tullius himself will be there.

Player

Politics be damned. Alduin has returned!

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

Alduin? The World-Eater of song and legend? If that’s true… well, it changes the situation doesn’t it?

Even Tullius may be forced to talk sense in the face of such a threat.

Player

So you’ll come to the peace council?

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

Yes. I’ll give Tullius one more chance to quit Skyrim with his tail between his legs.

(now that I received a commitment from Jarl Ulfric, I head to Castle Dour in Solitude to speak with General Tullius)

Player

I have a message from the Greybeards.

General Tullius

The Greybeards? What do those old hermits want with me?

Player

They’re convening a peace council at High Hrothgar.

General Tullius

Why? There’s nothing to discuss as long as that traitor Ulfric is in arms against his rightful Emperor.

Player

We need a truce until the dragon menace is dealt with.

General Tullius

They are getting to be a problem. But I wasn’t sent to Skyrim to fight dragons.

My job is to quell this rebellion, and I intend to do just that, dragons or no dragons.

Player

The dragons are a bigger problem than the Stormcloaks right now.

General Tullius

You may have a point. It’s getting difficult to even move troops around without attracting a dragon attack.

By all accounts the Stormcloaks are suffering just as badly. Even Ulfric might see the sense of a truce under these conditions.

Player

You’ll come to the peace council, then?

General Tullius

Yes. Yes, fine, I’ll come to this Greybeard council. For all the good it will do.

(with commitments from both General Tullius and Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, its about time to head back to High Hrothgar to hold the peace conference. All the Greybeards are assembled in the entry hall when I arrive)

Arngeir

So, you’ve done it. The men of violence are gathered here, in these halls whose very stones are dedicated to peace.

I should not have agreed to host this council. The Greybeards have no business involving ourselves in such matters.

Player

This was the only way to get Balgruuf’s help.

Arngeir

Yes, yes. Which is why I allowed this… violation of all our traditions.

But regrets are pointless. Here we are.

Take your seat at the council table and let us see what wisdom we can find among these warriors of Skyrim.

(just then, a familiar voice echoes in the stone hall)

Delphine

So. Arngeir, is it? You know why we’re here. Are you going to let us in or not?

Arngeir

You were not invited here. You are not welcome here.

Delphine

We have as much right to be at this council as all of you. More, actually, since we were the ones that put the Dragonborn on this path.

Arngeir

Were you? The hubris of the Blades truly knows no bounds.

Esbern

Delphine, we’re not here to rehearse old grudges.

The matter at hand is urgent. Alduin must be stopped. You wouldn’t have called this council if you didn’t agree.

We know a great deal about the situation and the threat that Alduin poses to us all. You need us here if you want this council to succeed.

Arngeir

Very well. You may enter.

(we enter the council room. It appears as the rest of the participants have already assembled. Arngeir asks me to be the first to sit to begin proceedings)

Arngeir

Take your seat and we can begin.

Now that everyone is here, please take your seats so we can begin.

I hope that we have all come here in the spirit of…

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

No. You insult us by bringing her to this negotiation?

(Ulfric points to Ambassador Elenwen)

Your chief Talos-hunter?

Legate Rikke

That didn’t take long.

Galmar

Hear, hear!

Elenwen

I have every right to be at this negotiation. I need to ensure that nothing is agreed to here that violates the terms of the White-Gold Concordant.

General Tullius

She’s part of the Imperial delegation. You can’t dictate who I bring to this council.

Arngeir

Please. If we have to negotiate the terms of the negotiation, we will never get anywhere.

Perhaps this would be a good time to get the Dragonborn’s input on this matter.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

(to me)

By Ysmir’s beard, the nerve of those Imperial bastards, eh?

To think that I would sit down at the same table with that… Thalmor bitch. Either she walks or I do.

Player

You’re right. The Thalmor have no business here.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

I’m glad we agree on this.

Elenwen

Very well, Ulfric. Enjoy your petty victory.

The Thalmor will treat with whatever government rules Skyrim. We would not think of interfering in your civil war.

Galmar

Ha! Skyrim will never bow to the Thalmor!

Unlike your Imperial friends here.

Legate Rikke

You’re lucky I respect the Greybeards’ council, Galmar!

General Tullius

Legate. We represent the Emperor here.

Legate Rikke

Sorry, sir. It won’t happen again.

Arngeir

Now that that’s settled, may we proceed?

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

I have something to say first.

Legate Rikke

Here we go.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

The only reason I agreed to attend this council was to deal with the dragon menace.

There’s nothing else to talk about, unless the Empire is finally ready to renounce its unjust claim to rule over the free people of Skyrim.

Legate Rikke

I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

We’re here to arrange a temporary truce to allow the Dragonborn here to deal with the dragons. Nothing more.

I consider even talking to the Empire a generous gesture.

General Tullius

Are you done? Did you just come here to make speeches? Or can we get down to business?

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

Yes, let’s get this over with.

Arngeir

Are we ready to proceed?

Jarl Ulfric.

General Tullius.

This council is unprecedented. We are gathered here at the Dragonborn’s request.

I ask that you all respect the spirit of High Hrothgar, and do your best to begin teh process of achieving a lasting peace in Skyrim.

Who would like to open the negotiations?

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

Yes, let’s get down to it.

We want control of Markarth. That’s our price for agreeing to a truce.

Jarl Elisif the Fair

So that’s why you’re here, Ulfric? You dare to insult the Greybeards by using this council to advance your own position?

General Tullius

Jarl Elisif, I’ll handle this.

Jarl Elisif the Fair

General, this is outrageous! You can’t be taking this demand seriously! I thought we were here to discuss a truce!

General Tullius

Elisif! I said I’d handle it.

Ulfric, you can’t seriously expect us to give up Markarth at the negotiating table.

You hope to gain in council what you’ve been unable to take in battle, is that it?

Arngeir

I’m sure Jarl Ulfric does not expect something for nothing.

Legate Rikke

Yes, that’d be entirely out of character.

Arngeir

What would the Empire want in return?

Jarl Elisif the Fair

Wait. General, you don’t intend to just hand over Markarth to that… traitor!

Jarl Balgruuf the Greater

This is how the Empire repays us for our loyalty?

General Tullius

Enough!

First, let’s be clear. This council wasn’t my idea. I think it’s a waste of time.

(to Ulfric)

You are a traitor to the Empire, and deserve a traitor’s death.

But I at least will negotiate in good faith.

(to me)

Since we’re all here at your request, I’d like to hear what you think Markarth is worth.

Player

How about Riften?

General Tullius

Hmm. The Rift would help secure our communications with Cyrodiil… and threaten Ulfric’s southern flank…

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

The Dragonborn has spoken, Tullius. Markarth will be ours.

Now we’ll see if there’s anything behind your talk of good faith.

General Tullius

You disappoint me, Dragonborn. I accepted your invitation on trust in your good name. But it seems you intend to favor Ulfric.

I can see now that this is not a negotiation at all.

I know you, Ulfric. If I hand over Markarth, you’ll be ready with a new demand.

You’ll never defeat the Empire, and you know it. But you’re willing to sacrifice thousands for your own selfish ambition.

Soon enough I’ll have you back under the headsman’s axe, and this time there won’t be any dragon to save you.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

As always, the Empire’s fine words are worth nothing!

Esbern

Stop! Are you so blind to our danger that you can’t see past your petty disagreements?

Here you sit arguing about… nothing! While the fate of the land hangs in the balance!

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

Is he with you, Delphine? If so, I advice you to tell him to watch his tongue.

Delphine

He is with me.

And I advise you both to listen to what he has to say, before you do anything rash.

Esbern

Don’t you understand the danger? Don’t you understand what the return of the dragons means?

Alduin has returned! The World-Eater! Even now, he devours the souls of your fallen comrades!

He grows more powerful with every soldier slain in your pointless war!

Can you not put aside your hatred for even one moment in the face of this mortal danger?

General Tullius

I don’t know about the end of the world, but this dragon situation has gotten out of hand.

If this truce will help the Dragonborn here put an end to that menace, we both gain. Remember that, Ulfric.

Now, back to the manner at hand.

You know as well as I do that we can’t hand over Markarth on these terms.

Galmar

Shor’s bones, where will these demands end?

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

I’m listening.

General Tullius

We want compensation for the massacre at Karthwasten.

Legate Rikke

You slaughtered the very people you claim to be fighting for! True sons of Skyrim would never do such things.

Galmar

Damned Imperial lies! My men would never stoop to such methods, even in retaliation for your butchery at…

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

This is our homeland, Tullius. All the blood spilled in this war is on your head.

General Tullius

So, Dragonborn. What do you say?

Player

Ulfric should compensate you for Karthwasten.

General Tullius

Well said.

(to Ulfric)

For once you’ll actually pay for your crimes.

I suppose that’s the fairest deal we’re likely to get.

Arngeir

It seems we may have an agreement.

Jarl Ulfric…

General Tullius…

These are the terms currently on the table.

Markarth will be handed over to Ulfric’s forces. Jarl Igmund will step down, and Thongvor Silver-Blood will become the Jarl of Markarth.

The Stormcloaks will withdraw from the Rift, allowing Imperial troops unhindered access.

Jarl Laila Law-Giver will step down, and Maven Black-Briar will become the Jarl of Riften.

The Stormcloaks will pay appropriate compensation for the massacre at Karthwasten.

You both agree to this?

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

The sons of Skyrim will live up to their agreements. As long as the Imperials hold to theirs.

What about you, Elisif? Are these terms to your liking? Speak up. I’m sure General Tullius is waiting to do your bidding.

Jarl Elisif the Fair

I have nothing to say to that murderer.

General, you’ve proven yourself a good friend to Skyrim. I continue to trust that you will do your utmost to safeguard our interests.

General Tullius

Thank you, Jarl Elisif. I appreciate your loyalty.

The Empire can live with these terms, yes. For a temporary truce, until the dragon menace is dealt with.

After that, Ulfric… there will be a reckoning. Count on it.

Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak

Come on Galmar. We have a lot of work to do.

Jarl Balgruuf the Greater

Giving up Markarth is a heavy price for this truce, Dragonborn. I hope it was worth it.

Arngeir

Jarl Baalgruf[sic], I assume you are familiar with the Dragonborn’s plan?

Jarl Balgruuf the Greater

Yes, I’m ready to do my part.

(to me)

Just say the word, and my men will help you spring this trap.

Arngeir

But the difficulty remains – how to lure a dragon to Dragonsreach at all?

General Tullius

(to me)

Well that’s an excellent question. You haven’t overlooked that little detail, have you?

Esbern

Ah. I believe I can be of help here.

(to me)

I anticipated the problem. While you were arranging this meeting, I was busy in the library of Sky Haven Temple.

An unguessed trove of lost lore… but the important thing is that the Blades recorded many of the names of dragons they slew.

Cross-referencing this with Delphine’s map of dragon burial sites, and I believe I’ve identified one of the dragons that Alduin has raised up.

Player

How does this help us?

Esbern

Ah, don’t you see? The names of dragons are always three Words of Power — Shouts.

By calling the dragon with the Voice, he will hear you wherever you might be.

Player

Why would he come when called?

Esbern

He’s not compelled to, but dragons are prideful by nature and loath to refuse a challenge.

Your Voice in particular is likely to intrigue this dragon, after your victory over Alduin.

I think it very likely that he will be unable to resist investigating your call.

Player

So what’s this dragon’s name?

Esbern

Ah, indeed. I’m no master of the Voice as these worthy gentlemen, but it is written here in this scroll.

Od – Ah – Viing. “Winged Snow Hunter,” as I read it.

Legate Rikke

(to me)

I hope this truce gives you what you need. It won’t last.

(the peace council comes to an end as the remaining members stand to depart)

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