|Tending the Flames|
|Location||Bards College |
Dead Man's Respite
Bards College membership
Gift of the Gab
|Type||Bards College quest|
Proving Your WorthEdit
The quest begins inside the Bards College with Viarmo, the same target as the quest to return the book from the bard in Windhelm. Upon speaking to him, the Dragonborn is given a dialog option to ask for admission. He then tells the story of King Olaf's Verse, which was thought to be lost when the king ordered the copies destroyed. However, one copy is suspected to be with the bard at Dead Man's Respite. Viarmo then asks the Dragonborn to retrieve the book from the dungeon. The marker for the dungeon shows up on the map, south of Solitude.
- Retrieve King Olaf's Verse from Dead Man's Respite
- Return to Viarmo with King Olaf's Verse
- Meet Viarmo inside the Blue Palace
- Observe the Burning of King Olaf
Locate King Olaf's Verse, BookEdit
- Next to Svaknir's corpse near the end of the Dungeon
The ancient barrow is located in the mountains southwest of Morthal and you will, immediately upon entering, notice a strange ghost wave at you, then disappear through the sealed entrance to the north. Pick up the Ruby Dragon Claw from the table, which will cause four of the previously dead Draugr enemies to reanimate and attack, but will also raise the gate and allow you to follow the ghost. It soon becomes clear that the ghost shows you the correct path, so follow it and pull the chain at the dead end.
The next area is a maze-like tomb where you will have to pull several chains to open up different areas. Use your map to your advantage and make sure to access the easternmost room for a copy of the Speech skill book The Buying Game, guarded by a well-placed Battering Ram. Watch out for several Draugr and Frostbite Spiders and continue north. Beware of the pressure plate at the foot of the stairs, which will release a flame trap.
Fight the spiders in the next room, loot the shelves for some potions and soul gems then pull the chain, which will open the grating in the floor and reveal a watery pit. Take the jump and proceed forward to a chamber with several enemies, including an archer on the ledge above.
Proceed to the level above and disarm the trip wire on the gate before opening it, or it will trigger several swinging blade traps that will hit you, pull the chain at the far side of the bridge to make them stop. Go up another level and open the huge door.
At the end of the next tunnel, use the Arcane Enchanter if you must, then turn around and watch your ghostly guide disappear through yet another door; due to a magical seal you are not allowed to follow, so make your way through another set of catacombs and fight Draugr or Draugr Deathlord, depending on your level, with two sleeping Draugr in alcoves. The expert locked door hides a master locked treasure chest, with a boss-leveled amount of gold.
In the next chamber, the gate will shut behind you and five Draugr will attack. After the battle, explore the southeastern room for a chest, but beware of the Dart Trap protecting it. Pull the chain and head down the stairs in the center of the room. Activate the handle to the left and watch the rock wall lower and behold the sight of the ghost sitting next to the decaying corpse of Svaknir, the Bard executed for questioning the King in ancient times. You cannot interact with the ghost, but the corpse still holds the forbidden Verse, so claim it and learn the truth behind the annual Festival in Solitude. As soon as you take the Verse, the ghost disappears and you will have no choice but to backtrack through the Catacombs.
On your way back, you will encounter the Ghost of Svaknir near the magically sealed door. He will turn towards the door and break the barrier and run headfirst into the Chamber. Follow him to a Nordic puzzle door; it is finally time to investigate the Ruby Dragon Claw you found when you initially entered the barrow, so take an extra look and you will find the symbols Wolf, Hawk, Wolf. Proceed forward and equip yourself for a lengthy battle.
In the final chamber, the ghost of Svaknir will stand in the middle of a small pond, surrounded by Draugr’s all seated on thrones. There are eight on the ground floor, and an additional four on the ledge in the other end of the room. Everything seems quiet, until you get close to the ghost. He will then shout out:
"Olaf! It is time!"
His words will make the entire room tremble and the first wave of Draugr enemies will rise from their thrones and attack. As a ghost, Svaknir is immortal and will pick up the fight, so do your best to help him out. When all eight enemies are slain, Svaknir will shout:
"Arise, Olaf! My vengeance is at hand!"
This will make the four Draugr on the ledge rise and attack, so once again help Svaknir get his revenge. These Draugr are all higher level than the first ones, but Svaknir will once again prove his skills and help you defeat them. When they are dead, he will finally shout out:
This will finally cause Olaf One-Eye himself to burst out of his coffin screaming:
"Insolent Bard. Die!"
He will then attack the both of you, so do your best to avoid his attacks and beware of his ability to disarm you. He can be a tough opponent, but will eventually fall to the ground and die. The tormented soul of Svaknir will finally be set free; he will head to the nearby door, pull out his lute and disappear in a ray of light. Loot Olaf’s corpse for a leveled sword and the key to his treasury, then examine the wall behind his coffin for a Whirlwind Dragon Shout. Examine the area for considerable loot - each Dragur has at least some gold. Unlock the treasury door and examine the chest and surrounds for loot, then pull the lever and make your way out of the barrow.
King Olaf can be found in the Hall of Valor in Sovngarde even before you complete this quest. Either this is a plot hole or Olaf returns to his body somehow. If you do not proceed too far into the final chamber with the seated Draugr, you will not trigger their rise and you can use sneak-attack with a bow (archery skill ~60) to kill all the seated Draugr before proceeding forward. Then you only have to help fight Olaf. Another way to do this is to have a follower manually attack all Draugr, as this will not trigger Olaf, and allows the Draugr to be picked off one by one.
Return to Viarmo, Bards CollegeEdit
Once you return with the verse, bring it to Viarmo, who begins to read it. He mentions that the verses are incomplete. Ask him about recreating the verses, and he gives it a shot. The first verse talks about King Olaf's capture of the dragon Numinex being a con. The three options to select are:
- "Olaf found him asleep."
- "Olaf made a deal with Numinex."
- "Olaf was Numinex. A Dragon in human form!" (Persuade)
The second verse talks about his conquest of Skyrim, and the Siege of Solitude. The three options to select are:
- "Olaf ordered disguised troops to attack Solitude?"
- "He convinced Solitude to attack Winterhold."
- "He sacked it and used magic to blame Solitude." - Only selectable if the Dragonborn chose an option other than the (Persuade) option for the first verse.
- "Olaf sacked it in dragon form!" (Persuade) - Only selectable if the Dragonborn chose the (Persuade) option for the first verse.
Once you meet Viarmo in the palace, he will approach the Jarl and begin to read the verse:
|First part||"O, Olaf, our subjugator, the one-eyed betrayer;
death-dealing demon and dragon-killing King. Your legend is lies, lurid and false; your cunning capture of Numinex, a con for the ages. "
|Olaf found Numinex asleep||"No shouting match between dragon and man, no fire or fury did this battle entail. Olaf captured a fast-sleeping dragon, a mighty feat which the meek would not fail."|
|Olaf made a deal with Numinex||"No shouting match between dragon and man, no fire or fury did this battle entail. Olaf struck a deal to make himself king, Numinex let go though none tell that tale."|
|Olaf was Numinex. A dragon in human form!||"No shouting match between dragon and man, no fire or fury did this battle entail. Olaf was Numinex in human form, on moonless nights he would spread wings and sail."|
|Second part||"Olaf grabbed power, by promise and threat;
From Falkreath to Winterhold, they fell to their knees; But Solitude stood strong, Skyrim's truest protectors. Olaf's vengeance was instant, inspired and wicked. "
|Olaf sacked Winterhold and used magic to blame Solitude.||"Olaf gave orders, Winterhold disguises. An attack on Solitude total destruction to follow. Because Solitude would not soon bend knee, Olaf would hurt them while his status accrued. He sacked Winterhold his only true ally, and used magic bold to blame Solitude.."|
|Olaf ordered disguised troops to attack Solitude or He convinced Solitude to attack Winterhold.||"Olaf gave orders, Winterhold disguises. An attack on Solitude total destruction to follow. His men dressed up and then went out to fight, but they reversed Olaf's orders much to Winterhold's sorrow."|
|Olaf sacked it in dragon form!||"Because Solitude would not soon bend knee, Olaf would hurt them while his status accrued. He sacked Winterhold in dragonform, and bent their minds to blame Solitude."|
|Ending lines||"So ends the story of Olaf the liar, a thief and a scoundrel we of Solitude commit to the fire.
In Solitude bards train for their service, they also gather each year and burn a King who deserves it."
No matter the lines used, Elisif be impressed enough to hold the festival and provide a reward to the college. Viarmo thanks the Dragonborn, then tells them to talk to Jorn inside the college. Talk to Jorn, then wait until 9:00 PM to talk to him again.
The Burning of King OlafEdit
Once outside, head to your right and into the overlook. Viarmo will set an effigy of King Olaf on fire, then congratulate you on your work. He announces the crowd that you are now an official bard, informs you of several other quests inside the Bards College, and gives your share of the reward from the Jarl, a sum depending on your level.
I have applied at the Bards College. As part of the Application, Headmaster Viarmo wants me to find and bring to him King Olaf's Verse.
I have applied at the Bards College. As part of the Application, Headmaster Viarmo asked me to retrieve King Olaf's Verse. Parts of the verse have decayed, I must help Viarmo reconstruct it so he can present it in court.
I have applied at the Bards College. As part of the Application, I helped Headmaster Viarmo reconstruct King Olaf's Verse. I should go watch Viarmo present the verse to the court at the Blue Palace.
I have applied at the Bards College. As part of the Application, I helped Headmaster Viarmo reconstruct King Olaf's Verse. The court has accepted the Verse I should speak to Viarmo about my application.
I am to be inducted into the Bards College at the Burning of King Olaf festival. I've been told to speak to Jorn who is preparing the effigy of King Olaf.
I am to be inducted into the Bards College at the Burning of King Olaf festival. Unfortunately the festival cannot begin until the effigy is done and Jorn will not complete it without General Tullius' Coat. I must steal the coat and return to Jorn.
I am to be inducted into the Bards College at the Burning of King Olaf festival. I must speak to Jorn who is in charge of preparing the Effigy.
I am to be inducted into the Bards College at the Burning of King Olaf festival. Unfortunately the festival cannot begin until the effigy is done and Jorn will not complete it without General Tullius' Coat. I must place the coat on the effigy.
I am to be inducted into the Bards College at the Burning of King Olaf festival. I should attend the festival in the Bards College courtyard in Solitude.
I have been inducted into the Bards College in Solitude.
- The Skyrim Official Game Guide states that completing this quest grants a perk called "Gift of the Gab" that increases Speech by 25%. This never appears in-game.
- In Irish culture, the Gift of the Gab is a gift bestowed upon any who kiss a certain rock on top of the Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland which you can still visit today and is a large tourist attraction. The gift is said to make people more talkative and confident.
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