|Tending the Flames|
|Location||Bards College |
Dead Man's Respite
Bards College membership
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, you are given a dialog option to ask for admission. He then tells you 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 you to retrieve the book from the dungeon. The marker for the dungeon shows up on your 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
- Acceptance into the Bard’s College
- Gift of the Gab Perk
- Leveled gold
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 path. Activate the handle 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. Unlock the treasury door and examine the area for considerable 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.
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, using the suggestions from the earlier persuasion checks. If the persuasion checks were used, and the correct answers given, she will be impressed enough to hold the festival and provide a reward to the college. (She will allow the festival no matter which suggestions were used, but the end reward is greater if the speech checks are passed.) Viarmo thanks you, then tells you 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 Bard's College, and gives your share of the reward from the Jarl, a sum depending on your level.
- 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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Behind the scenesEdit
- Unless otherwise stated, the information above was obtained from in-game play or from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Creation Kit.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (First appearance)