As Jarl of Dawnstar, he resides within The White Hall with a number of servants and counselors, including his housecarl, Jod, his servant, Bulfrek, and the Court Wizard, Madena. His family, the Felgeifs, have been Jarls of Dawnstar for generations. Skald the Elder has ruled Dawnstar for over thirty-five years.
Skald is a grumpy, elderly man. He has a particular distaste for the Imperial Legion and often argues with two Legion veterans living in Dawnstar. He also has a fascination with the Civil War and respects Ulfric Stormcloak greatly. Although he wishes for all the citizens of his hold to fight for Ulfric, at the same time he looks down upon those who have lesser "stature" who still wish to fight, such as his servant, Bulfrek.
He is one of three Jarls to openly and actively support the Stormcloaks and Jarl Ulfric. Skald also believes that the Dragons have returned because Talos has become angry with the Empire for banning his worship, and that they will disappear when the Stormcloaks push the Empire out of Skyrim. Few of his citizens share his zeal for the cause, however, with most either remaining neutral or preferring the more reasonable and stoic Brina Merilis.
Near the White Hall, upon first entering Dawnstar, he can be seen arguing with one of the town's most important residents, Brina Merilis, and rebuking her housecarl Horik Halfhand for wearing Imperial Legion Armor, branding the act as treasonous. He goes as far as threatening to execute the man and seems to think of them as imperial spies.
If Erandur is not spoken to directly at Windpeak Inn, Skald the Elder informs the Dragonborn of nightmares citizens are having. He sends the Dragonborn to speak with Erandur, a priest of Mara, culminating in the sack of Vaermina's shrine at Nightcaller Temple.
If the Dragonborn sides with the Empire during the Civil War, or if Markarth is traded for Dawnstar during Season Unending, Skald, his housecarl Jod, and his servant Bulfrek are exiled to the Palace of the Kings in Windhelm. Brina Merilis, an Imperial Legionnaire, replaces him as Jarl of Dawnstar.
Skald the Elder asks the Dragonborn to kill a giant.
How is Dawnstar faring in the war? "The Stormcloaks are destined to win this fight. Talos is with us, and when you fight under a Divine's blessing, victory is assured. Dawnstar has a history of being the site of battles that have crippled the fate of the Empire. I hope this remains true."
Is Dawnstar prepared for dragon attacks? "The only reason dragons are attacking is because Talos is angry with us for turning our backs on him. As soon as we drive the Empire out of Skyrim, the dragons will vanish. Mark my words."
- Waking Nightmare
"Unless you're here to solve this nightmare problem, I don't need you."
- Nightmare problem? "That's right. Dawnstar. My Dawnstar is plagued with nightmares. I haven't slept properly in days. That priest of Mara who came here before you says the Divines will cure us. Well, until they do, I don't have any business to discuss with outsiders."
After completing "Waking Nightmare:"
"The nightmares in Dawnstar have lifted, and I hear you helped that happen. You have my thanks."
- Kill the Giant
I'm looking for work. "Giants are a common problem in the Pale. The Empire always demanded I leave them be, but the Empire isn't here now. Go and slay one of the beasts. It should let them know that Dawnstar is not to be trifled with."
- I don't have time for that. "You don't have time? Fine."
- It will be done. "I'm counting on you."
"Good luck with the giant. Don't get stepped on."
- The giant in <location> is dead. "You've shown those monsters that they will no longer be tolerated in the Pale. Good work. Here, a reward from your Jarl."
- Brina Merilis
Brina: "Divines sakes, Skald, who do you think we're threatening with our old war wounds? We're not soldiers anymore."
Skald: "Your man Horik is wearing his Legion armor. What am I to make of that?"
Brina: "He's proud of his service, Skald. The Legion taught us loyalty, and we're loyal to Dawnstar."
Skald: "This isn't over. I catch you sending one letter to General Tullius, I'll have you both executed."
Bulfrek: "Skald, if you don't mind, sir, I have a request."
Skald: "You, have a request of me, Bulfrek? [laughter] This should be interesting."
Bulfrek: "Well, I was thinking, sir, with the war going on and all. Maybe, I could enlist? Fight the Imperials?"
Skald: "A servant? Enlisting in the Stormcloaks? [laughter] Ah, Bulfrek, that's why I like having you about. You're always good for a laugh."
Bulfrek: "Uh, yes sir. That's me. Your oafish servant."
Skald: "Bulfrek, I have an order of swords and armor from the local blacksmith coming here. I need every piece polished to a fine shine."
Bulfrek: "Yes, my Jarl. We could hardly waste anyone else's precious time on such a tedious task."
Skald: "Exactly, Bulfrek. You always know your place."
Jod: "My Jarl, I have concerns about the safety of Dawnstar."
Skald: "Safety? Don't I have you to handle the town's safety? What is this about, Jod?"
Jod: "You keep pledging more and more of our guard to the frontlines. The way this is going, we won't be able to defend our own borders."
Skald: "Nonsense. The best place for our men is driving the Imperials back. I will ensure that men from Dawnstar get every opportunity for glory."
Jod: "Glory is meaningless if they have no home to return to. I urge you to lower our commitments to the front until I'm sure we're safe."
Skald: "I won't have you rob our soldiers of their chance to drive out the Empire. I'm done discussing this, Jod."
Skald: "We are poised for glory, Jod. The Empire will never take Dawnstar while every last man, woman, and child here draws breathe!"
Jod: "With respect, Jarl. You can't ask everyone to throw themselves against trained Legionnaires. Let's leave the fighting to the Stormcloaks."
Skald: "You're right. Why dilute the glory with too many souls fighting over it? We'll drive out the Empire and be celebrated as heroes when we win."
Jod: "If we win. This war is going to drag on for years. I can feel it. We need to prepare for a long struggle ahead."
Skald: "Enough of your dire predictions! We will talk about this another time."
Madena: "Skald, I've been meaning to ask you for a leave of absence. I wish to return to High Rock until this war is over."
Skald: "You wish to leave now? In Skyrim's moment of triumph, just before we cast off the yoke of Imperial rule?"
Madena: "Yes, that's exactly what I'm asking. I'm not a Nord, I'm a Breton, and I have no wish to fight this war."
Skald: "I don't think so, Madena. There will be no deserters in this hold, and that's final."
Skald: "Madena, can we count on your spells to assist us in this war? The Empire is bound to bring their battlemages against us."
Madena: "I told you before, Skald, I have no interest in taking sides in this war. I've no desire to be killed."
Skald: "What good is a court mage if she refuses to fight? Where's your sense of duty?"
Madena: "When I came here, my only duties were to cure crop diseases and occasionally light a bonfire on holidays. I didn't sign up to kill."
Skald: "Fine, but this isn't over Madena. We'll talk again."
- "You wouldn't attack an old man again, would you?" —After being attacked.
- "Why are you speaking to me, Imperial?" —In exile.
- "Damn Imperials. They won't hold Dawnstar forever." —In exile.
- "I've been in charge of Dawnstar for over 35 years."
- "No Empire is going to take the Jarlship away from this Son of Skyrim."
- "The Pale will throw those Imperial backbiters up against the wall when they come for us."
- "Skyrim will not bow to a false king any longer. Ulfric is the true king."
- "Skald" is an Old Norse word for "poet/bard/storyteller."
- According to conversations with Skald's servant Bulfrek, his last name is Felgeif.
- Skald was voiced by Jim Cummings, who also voices Dengeir of Stuhn, Festus Krex, Olfrid Battle-Born, Vignar Gray-Mane and some other characters who use the MaleOldGrumpy voiceset.
- Frida, the town's alchemist, calls Skald a "fool" because he believes that Ulfric "is invincible and spits dragon fire."
This section contains bugs related to Skald the Elder. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- a radiant bounty quest.
Skald may not reward the Dragonborn for completing a
CompleteAllObjectives BQ03into the console. This removes the quest from the journal. Return to Skald for the reward. After killing the target and before returning to Skald, type
- After killing the target and before returning to Skald, type
- A radiant bounty quest from Dawnstar may sometimes be stuck in the journal after being rewarded. This includes "Collect the bounty from Skald in Dawnstar."
- May be fixed by completing another quest from Skald.
- May be fixed by using the console command "SetObjectiveCompleted BQ03" before turning in the quest.
- Even if Skald is out of Dawnstar in the Palace of Kings when the Stormcloaks are defeated, he will still comment about not getting any sleep.
- Heljarchen Hall.
Even after completing "Waking Nightmare," Skald may not offer any dialogue options other than "How is Dawnstar faring in the war?" and "Is Dawnstar prepared for dragon attacks?" This means he cannot offer any radiant quests, grant the title of Thane, or allow the purchase of
- Note: The Dragonborn must be level 22 or above to receive new dialogue options and quests from Skald.
- If Skald is exiled and then the bounty quest after "Waking Nightmare" completed, he will resume making positive comments in the Dragonborn's presence ("You're not as dumb as you look").
- Hearthfire is installed, he may not ever give the option to buy property in The Pale.
- This can be resolved by making sure "Kill the Giant" has been completed. If Skald does not offer "Kill the Giant," all other bounty quests need to be completed and the bounties collected. Returning to Skald should get him to offer the Thane quest and subsequently the option to buy property in the Pale.